Fort McCoy News Nov. 27, 2015

Ribbon-cutting ceremony held for new CIF

STORY & PHOTO BY SCOTT T. STURKOL
Public Affairs Staff

The Logistics Readiness Center (LRC) at Fort McCoy recognized the completion of the new 62,548-square-foot Central Issue Facility (CIF) with a Nov. 5 ribbon-cutting ceremony.

According to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the $9.3 million contract to build the new CIF was awarded to KEPA-TCI (Architects, Engineers, Contractor of La Crosse) Joint Venture LLC in June 2013. CIF personnel signed for building 780 in August and officially began operations in September.

Photo
Scott McKinney (left to right), Central Management Office; 88th Regional Support Command Chief of Staff Charles Hudson; Fort McCoy Garrison
Deputy Commander Lt. Col. James Parkinson; 404th Army Field Support Brigade Commander Col. Sydney Smith; 404th Command Sergeant Major Command Sgt. Maj. Jermaine Davison; and Central Issue Facility (CIF) Property Book Officer Thomas Lovgren prepare to cut the ribbon during a ceremony commemorating the opening of the new CIF, located in building 780 at Fort McCoy.

"A critical enabler to the training (support) mission at Fort McCoy has been, and will continue to be, our Central Issue Facility," said LRC Director Layne Walker during his presentation at the ceremony. "The old facility served us well for many years, but this is (a big improvement)."

CIF Property Book Officer Thomas Lovgren said the idea for a new facility began in 2006. And now, he said, it's great to see it come to fruition.

"This has to be one of the best facilities in the Army, and it provides us with ample space to better serve our customers," he said.

As part of his presentation highlighting the importance of good Organizational Clothing and Individual Equipment (OCIE), Walker shared a story about his father.

"At home, I have an old 7th Infantry tattered yearbook, and it's all pictures from the Korean War," Walker said. "One of the pictures I happened to notice in (the book) was of my dad. He's lying in the snow, and he has one of those big parkas on with the white fur and the fur fringe, and he's all tucked in behind this machine gun."

From seeing the photo of his father, Walker said he thought he learned something new about his dad being a machine gunner. But, as his father explained to him, the scene in the photo was completely staged as a photo opportunity for a visiting dignitary.

"(My father) says … 'They grab me, put this big parka on me, and told me to get down behind this machine gun. Then they took my picture. After the picture was over, they left, and they took the parka. It was cold — it would have been nice to have kept that parka,'" Walker said.

However, with today's OCIE available at the CIF, Walker said his father would not have longed to keep his parka.

"For cold-weather training, we can issue the extended cold-weather (gear) system," Walker said. "We have the stocks, and we can do that with one subtle difference — the Soldiers who receive that from us will get to use the parka for more than just a photo."

Col. Sydney Smith, commander of the 404th Army Field Support Brigade at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., also gave a presentation. She said the improvements in the new CIF, including a humidity-controlled storage area for body armor as well as in-floor heating, are significant for the CIF's customers.

"This building is a representation of what Fort McCoy does," Smith said.

"This building would not have been built without proper coordination. It could not have been built without multiple stakeholders all over the place. And it could have not been built without a passion for supporting Soldiers.

"That is what I clearly see Fort McCoy is all about," Smith said. "Your mission isn't just to support Soldiers who come here, but also Soldiers from all across the nation."

Smith also highlighted the "great efforts" of CIF staff members.

"The (CIF team) does their mission (well) because they have passion for it," Smith said. "The CIF had 550 ICE comments last year, and 99 percent of them were positive. You don't get that very often. You only get that when you have truly exceptional people who really care about what they are doing."

During fiscal year (FY) 2015, Walker said the CIF staff also provided critical support to the more than 155,000 service members who trained at Fort McCoy.

"Between FY 12 and 15, the (CIF) processed (more than) 1,057,000 transactions in support of our Soldiers," Walker said. "In support of three major exercises that we have done this year, they did over 4,000 issues (of items), and 265 of those issues were bulk issues. And something that shows we are uniquely different than other CIFs is our bulk-issue mission. One bulk issue can mean as much as 100 pallets of items."

Now, with the new building, the bulk-issue mission is better supported, and customers will have a better all-around experience, Lovgren said. "Our new facility makes the issuing process a much-better experience for Soldiers," he said.

As part of the ceremony, Lovgren received a certificate of appreciation from Smith and the 404th for his work as property book officer and in setting up the new facility. "This is really an appreciation for the entire team," Lovgren said.

The LRC team also was awarded a U.S. Army Safety Streamer from Smith for an exceptional safety record.

Lovgren provided tours of the facility after the award presentations and ribbon cutting.

The CIF is open seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. each day. It is closed on federal holidays.

For more information about CIF operations, call 608-388-3876.