|Story & Photo by Tom Michele, Eagle Systems &
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.
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
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
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