[ The Real McCoy Online Home ]                                                                                                                    January 11, 2008
Mobilization

CIF ranks high in meeting clothing, equipment needs

By Lacey Justinger, The Real McCoy Contributor

      After the 2007 mobilization season, the Fort McCoy Central Issue Facility (CIF) is ranked sixth out of 73 similar-sized Department of Defense CIFs for equipment issue in first-time fill rates.

Photo: Joann Gilbertson, Ashley Bolen and Bernard Britzman of the Fort McCoy Central Issue Facility sort, clean, repair and recondition organizational clothing and equipment such as individual battle armor for reissue to mobilizing Soldiers. (Photo by Lacey Justinger)
Joann Gilbertson, Ashley Bolen and Bernard Britzman of the Fort McCoy Central Issue Facility sort, clean, repair and recondition organizational clothing and equipment such as individual battle armor for reissue to mobilizing Soldiers. 
(Photo by Lacey Justinger)

      "The first-time fill rate will tell, overall, how a CIF operation is going," said Thomas Lovgren, the Fort McCoy CIF property book officer. "Our priority is the Soldier - to get everything issued that a Soldier needs overseas the first time they come here. We don't want to send any Soldier over there without a piece of equipment and hope they get it in-theater. We'll do everything we can to ensure they get it here."

      In 2007, at least 95 percent of more than 15,000 Soldiers mobilizing or training at Fort McCoy received all of their organizational clothing and individual equipment the first time they processed through the CIF.

      More than $53.4 million in equipment was transactioned through Fort McCoy.

      "We go out of the way to accommodate and support the Soldiers, that's number one," said Lovgren. "We don't forget the Soldier is our customer. We want them to walk away serviced respectfully and with the proper equipment."

      With the continual improvements in equipment transitioning in and out of the CIF as well as three patterns of equipment stocked for the different types of units, including the Air Force and Navy units mobilizing through Fort McCoy, quantity constraints limit the amount of equipment kept on-hand, especially in special sizes.


"We don't want to send any Soldier over there without a piece of equipment and hope they get it in-theater. We'll do everything we can to ensure they get it here."

Thomas Lovgren,
Fort McCoy Central Issue Facility
Property Book Officer

      For example, a Soldier who wore a size small battle dress uniform or desert camouflage uniform patterned individual body armor (IBA) now will need an extra-small army combat uniform (ACU) IBA.

      During this last summer there was an Armywide shortage of extra-small and small ACU IBA. Soldiers with large or small feet may have to wait a few weeks for a special order as the boots stocked transition from hot and cold weather to temperate.   

      To help prevent these occurrences, and at the mobilizing units' request, the CIF team will travel to a unit's home station for pre-mobilization briefings to pre-order for equipment shortages and specialty sizes.

      The team also works with other posts, transferring and shipping equipment overnight to fulfill the needs of mobilizing units.   

      "Without training in the proper equipment, it affects how the Soldier does his or her job," said Lovgren. "We want to get them outfitted as soon as we can to get them out in the field training to save lives. The people at the CIF work very hard to make sure the Soldiers get taken care of and give the troops the equipment they need. In four years, no one has left this fort without the body armor they need."

      "We have the experience. We're adaptable no matter what comes our way. We get it done," said Bernard Britzman, a warehouse specialist with the CIF. "We have a tremendous amount of work to do with Soldiers coming and going all the time. Sometimes it's hard to keep track, but customers are satisfied. They leave with a smile on their face."

Photo: Bernard Britzman and Ryan Grooms repair and recondition individual battle armor that will be reissued to Soldiers mobilizing through the Fort McCoy Central Issue Facility in 2008. (Photo by Lacey A. Justinger)  (The Real McCoy Online Extra)
Bernard Britzman and Ryan Grooms repair and recondition individual battle armor that will be reissued to Soldiers mobilizing through the Fort McCoy Central Issue Facility in 2008. (Photo by Lacey A. Justinger) 
(The Real McCoy Online Extra) 

      Equipment issued includes waterproof Gortex clothing, side armor, helmets, rifle packs, small arms protective insert plates, duffle bags, gator necks, joint service lightweight integrated suit technology clothing, decontamination kits, chemical detection kits and chemical protective gloves, over boots and hoods.

      "There are lots of changes coming up with new products," said Rory Deal, who issues a 96 percent first-time fill rate in chemical equipment by maintaining supplies for 800 Soldiers. "But we try to make it a fun, good atmosphere. Soldiers like coming here. They remember how they were treated, and they say it's the best CIF they've ever come to."

      "When we get something accomplished it's important for the mission of the Soldiers," said Joann Gilbertson, a general clerk in the CIF.

      Since 2004, the Fort McCoy CIF has accumulated a cost avoidance of more than $9.4 million by requiring Soldiers to turn-in equipment issued to them.

      They spend months cleaning, repairing, reconditioning and reissuing the equipment.

      Lovgren explained this saves the government money, which in turn saves the taxpayers money while still maintaining the first-time fill rate for the benefit of the Soldiers.

      "It's a continuous process. Even though the Soldier isn't here, we're prepared," said Lovgren. "We are working hard to get the next generation of field gear ready for the Soldier."

      As the sign reads next to the last CIF station: "You've seen the rest, you're at the best, Fort McCoy, Wisconsin."

(Justinger is a public affairs specialist for Eagle Systems and Services Inc., contractor for CONUS Support Base Services.)

 

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