[ The Real McCoy Online Home ]                                                                                                                   March 25, 2011

CIF ensures Soldiers have proper equipment

Story & photo by Tom Michele, Eagle Systems & Services

Fort McCoy’s Central Issue Facility (CIF) personnel put materials between Soldiers and the bombs, bullets and climates Soldiers may encounter.

CIF Property Book Officer Tom Lovgren said the CIF outfits Soldiers with essential protection equipment, including body armor. “Body armor has saved thousands of lives,” Lovgren said.

PHOTO: Capt. Michael Jensen, right, turns in an Improved Outer Tactical Vest to Fort McCoy Central Issue Facility warehouse specialists Ron Barnes, left, and Dave Ohm. Photo by Tom Michele
Capt. Michael Jensen, right, turns in an Improved Outer Tactical Vest to Fort McCoy Central Issue Facility warehouse specialists Ron Barnes, left, and Dave Ohm. Jensen, with the 1092nd Engineer Battalion, just returned from a year-long tour of duty supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

The Improved Outer Tactical Vest (IOTV) is fitted to each Soldier, along with the Small Arms Protective Inserts and Enhanced Side Ballistic Inserts that are part of the IOTV. The systems shield Soldiers from projectiles and shrapnel.

Other protective equipment issued by CIF is labeled “for comfort,” and offers protection from weather. Items include sleeping bags, sleeping mats, entrenching tools, extreme cold-weather gear, and intermediate cold-weather boots.

Throughout the history of warfare, battling adverse weather conditions has been as much of a threat to Soldiers as threat forces.

Mobilizing units and demobilizing units visit the CIF in the first days of their stay at Fort McCoy.

“There are a lot of background tasks that need to be accomplished to issue equipment to a Soldier,” Lovgren said. “We prepare a budget forecast that plans exactly what type of equipment and how much will be necessary for incoming mobilizing Soldiers, order that equipment, receive that equipment and inventory it, post proper documents, pre-position the equipment on shelves — all before the Soldier walks in the door.”

That planning includes stocking the proper sizes. Most of the cold-weather gear comes in 15 different sizes. “We visit units months before they come to mobilize, determine their mission and requirements, and identify any shortages in the regular equipment they already have,” Lovgren said.

“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 overseas without the proper equipment. We’ll do everything we can to ensure they get what they need here.”

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

“Training without the proper equipment affects how the Soldier does their job,” Lovgren said. “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.”

CIF personnel clean, repair, recondition and reissue the Organizational Clothing and Individual Equipment. “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,” Lovgren said.

“It’s a continuous process. Even when the Soldier isn’t here, we’re preparing for the next issue,” Lovgren said. “We are working hard to get the next generation of field gear ready for the Soldier.”

Lovgren said, “Our goal is to issue the proper equipment to the Soldier and have them processed through the CIF in a timely manner.”

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