When DLA Distribution’s Army Reserve Element team leader and Joint Reserve Task Force commander Col. Ronnie Davis asked for civilian volunteers for an Army Reserve mission he was coordinating, Danielle Oehm says she was surprised no hands went up.
“I’ve worked for the government since I was 19 and spent 25 years serving my country in the Air Force and Ohio Air National Guard, but I’ve never had an opportunity like this. I couldn’t believe no one volunteered. I assumed because I work with mostly veterans that they have all ‘been there - done that.’ But I hadn’t, so I told Colonel Davis I was in,” said Oehm.
Oehm says when she volunteered to document the event and represent DLA Distribution in the training exercise which involved an early morning Chinook flight from New Cumberland to Fort Indiantown Gap and land navigation exercise, she knew it would be a challenge.
Donning her Army shirt, heavy socks and boots, Oehm arrived for the 0600 kickoff in the steady rain. “We flew from New Cumberland to Ft. Indiantown Gap. Nobody told me to take a knee when the helicopter was landing, and I was almost swept down the hill from the force.”
Upon arrival at Ft. Indiantown Gap, the group completed a land navigation exercise. Oehm describes climbing steep, rain-slicked hills, through streams, and over trees, determined to find the points and conquer the mission. “I only fell once; well maybe twice. My feet were so wet, but I persevered and made it to the end.”
Oehm says the experience really opened her eyes to the amount of training, teamwork and expertise required to serve in a war zone. “I am so fortunate to have been able to participate. It reminded me that, while I’m behind my desk and Excel spreadsheets, these military members continuously train to defend our country.”
“I am so incredibly proud to have experienced such a day, and to work with amazing Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and others who support our outstanding military. I am very thankful to Colonel Davis for this opportunity, his incredible leadership, letting me sit in the premiere seat on the helicopter, heating my MRE, and, most importantly, reminding me of what military members do every day to support this great Nation.”