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 April 09, 2010

News

PEO Soldier improving uniform, equipment issue to mobilized Soldiers

Story & Photo by Tom Michele, Eagle Systems & Services

Fort McCoy is improving the way equipment is distributed to mobilizing Soldiers, according to Master Sgt. Robert Barnes.
Barnes, the Mobilized Unit Inprocessing Center Logistics non-commissioned officer-in-charge, said Soldiers now are getting all of their gear at one time.

PHOTO: Staff Sgt. Jennifer Goldberg watches as Warehouse Specialist Jerry Amundson nudges a pallet of supplies onto a pick-up truck at a dock at Fort McCoy’s General Purpose Warehouse. Photo by Tom Michele.
Staff Sgt. Jennifer Goldberg watches as Warehouse Specialist Jerry Amundson nudges a pallet of supplies onto a pick-up truck at a dock at Fort McCoy’s General Purpose Warehouse. Goldberg is with the 328th Engineer Company advance party, preparing for the arrival of the main body of New Jersey Army Reserve Soldiers who will mobilize at Fort McCoy to deploy in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

“That cuts down on the time it took in the past and doesn’t take away from their training time in the field,” Barnes said. “Our new time schedules are making the process a lot better and less complicated.”

The gear is supplied through the Program Executive Office (PEO) Soldier program.

According to the PEO Army Web site, PEO Soldier was created by the Army with one primary purpose: to develop the best equipment and field it as quickly as possible so that Soldiers remain second to none in missions that span the full spectrum of military operations.

PEO Soldier ensures that Soldiers and everything they wear or carry works together as an integrated system. The result is an overall systematic design that benefits Soldiers by enhancing their ability to accomplish individual and collective tasks, improving quality of life, building confidence and saving lives.

Headquartered at Fort Belvoir, Va., PEO Soldier designs, develops, procures, fields and sustains virtually everything the Soldier wears or carries.

Getting a Soldier outfitted for war still has the stereotypical long line of Soldiers at the door of a warehouse, filing through, getting equipment piece-by-piece, filling up one duffle bag after another.
 
Some of what is changing is the organizational structure of distributing that gear. That’s where the PEO Soldier program appears.

Barnes said the PEO Soldier program is becoming more noticeable because it is undergoing reorganization at its internal level, and combining distribution of the rapid fielding initiative (RFI), Army combat uniform (ACU) and weapons equipment under one contract distributor.

“PEO has been around at least eight years,” Barnes said. “It is all part of standardizing what Soldiers receive and how it is done post-by-post.”

Some of that is evident with the construction of the new General Purpose Warehouse on the northeast edge of the McCoy Triad. That facility opened a year ago, and issues weapons and unit supplies.

Some RFI and ACU issuance still is conducted at the Central Issue Facility warehouses close to Highway 21. In addition to uniforms, the ACU issue includes the outer tactical vest with body armor plates and extreme cold-weather clothing items.

RFI equipment includes ballistics goggles, combat gloves, a first-aid kit, knee and elbow pads, a sleeping bag and its “compression” carrying bag, a strap cutter, combat ear plugs, a flashlight, field packs, a hydration bladder kit (drinking water bag), a multipurpose tool and ammunition pouches.

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