*Shawn J. Jones began working as public affairs specialist with DLA Troop Support last week.
As the new guy, I get all the new-guy questions. But one really stopped me in my tracks.
“How was your first week with DLA?”
Now hold on a second.
My first week with DLA?
I know it was meant as a polite, small-talk question. And I provided a polite, small-talk response. But the truth of the matter is that I’ve been with DLA for longer than a week.
When an assembly line of syringe-wielding medical technicians turned my shoulder into a pin cushion during basic training at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, I was with DLA Troop Support’s Medical supply chain.
When I stripped out a fastener while performing maintenance on an F-16 Fighting Falcon at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, and my team had just the spare part we needed to repair the jet without delay, I was with DLA Troop Support’s Industrial Hardware supply chain.
When I helped build defensive fortifications and perimeters using razor wire, sand-filled barriers and what felt like seven million sand bags during a training exercise at Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico, I was with DLA Troop Support’s Construction and Equipment supply chain.
When I filled my belly with a cold drink and a warm meal in far-flung locales like Iraq, Kuwait, Kenya, Djibouti and Qatar, I was with DLA Troop Support’s Subsistence supply chain.
And when I dressed for duty before meeting the Vice President, the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, I was with DLA Troop Support’s Clothing and Textiles supply chain.
I’ve been with DLA on duty, I’ve been with DLA off duty and I’ve been with DLA as I slept. I’ve been with DLA as an active-duty airman and a Reserve airman. I’ve been with DLA in 17 different states, and I’ve been with DLA in 11 different countries.
So how was my first week with DLA?
It went well, but the details are a little fuzzy. After all, it was almost two decades ago.
*Jones spent more than nine years in the active duty Air Force before becoming a Reservist in 2009. He currently serves as a career advisor with 514th Operations Group at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey.