News | Jan. 7, 2016

Distribution Expeditionary Team honored by DLA Director with award

By DLA Distribution Public Affairs

The DLA Distribution Expeditionary Team was recognized for their contributions to Operation United Assistance, receiving the DLA Team Performance Award during an awards ceremony Dec. 10.

Members of the 27-person team attended the 48th Annual Employee Recognition Program at the McNamara Headquarters Complex to receive the award from DLA director Air Force Lt. Gen. Andy Busch, in honor of being one of the first organizations in Africa in the fight against Ebola.

In August 2014, DLA received the presidential order to support Operation United Assistance.  The director immediately dispatched the DLA Distribution Expeditionary team to support the construction of Ebola Treatment Units, or ETUs, in Liberia and Senegal.

Beginning September 24, team members were mobilized from New Cumberland, Pa., to Monrovia, Liberia, and Dakar, Senegal.  Once on the ground, the team was led by Marine Maj. John Simpson, the first to volunteer despite being new to DLA. Although the environment they were operating in was primitive with regard to infrastructure, with roads full of potholes and ruts, and fuel and modern warehouses were scarce, the team immediately got to work to prepare warehouses to receive cargo and find a way to transport items to future ETU sites.

With minimal materiel handling equipment, and in 100-degree heat and occasional heavy rains, the team offloaded hundreds of containers and stowed them in austere warehouses to await distribution.

Members also invented field-expedient procedures to enable the delivery of 3,500 lb. containers to remote areas.  Without a reliable communications network and utilizing an underdeveloped road system in which a 60-mile trip could take two weeks, team members devised convoy procedures to enable a degree of situational awareness.  Even with such obstacles, every single Ebola Treatment Unit was constructed on time.

In total, the team tenaciously planned and completed 1,300 transportation missions supporting the construction and operation of 15 ETUs.

“The DLA Distribution Expeditionary Team truly distinguished itself during this mission.  Despite operating in an extremely austere environment, they focused on the task at hand and truly proved that Distribution can operate at the tip of the spear,” said DLA Distribution chief integration officer Perry Knight.