Fort McCoy News July 8, 2016

Unit supply Soldiers train with CIF personnel

STORY & PHOTOS BY SCOTT T. STURKOL
Public Affairs Staff

Unit supply Soldiers with the 400th Military Police Battalion Supply Section of Fort Meade, Md., trained with personnel at Fort McCoy's Central Issue Facility (CIF) in mid-June to experience Army warehouse operations firsthand.

The Soldiers spent more than two weeks training at the 65,000-square-foot facility supporting daily operations and more, said CIF Property Book Officer Thomas Lovgren.

"They've helped with warehouse operations, shipping and shipping preparation, and receiving," Lovgren said. "They also trained on, and supported us with, inventory management."

Unit supply specialist Soldiers with the 400th Military Police Battalion of Fort Meade, Md., work together to complete an assigned task at the Fort McCoy Central Issue Facility.
Unit supply specialist Soldiers with the 400th Military Police Battalion
of Fort Meade, Md., work together to complete an assigned task at the
Fort McCoy Central Issue Facility.

This is the first time Soldiers have trained with CIF contract employees since the new facility, building 780, opened in September 2015. However, Lovgren said Soldiers had been training at the Logistics Readiness Center CIF at building 2142 for many years.

"It's very helpful to have them here," Lovgren said. "When this first started several years ago … we wanted to work this out to be a win-win situation for both of us, and it has. We have had nothing but a positive (experience)."

The Soldiers are qualified in the Army's 92Y (unit supply specialist) and 92A (automated logistical specialist) military occupational specialties (MOS). The core skills required by each MOS are to receive, inspect, inventory, load and unload, store, issue, and deliver supplies and equipment.

Unit Supply Specialist Pfc. Brandon McRae with the 400th said he and his fellow Soldiers were able to build on their core MOS skills during their training.

"Working here, we get a hands-on understanding of what we have to do," McRae said. "It helps us get better with accountability (for example) … and we learn more about how to pack things right.

"(The CIF) is actually a bigger facility than what we are used to, so it allows us more space to move around and allows us to have more Soldiers see how work here is done."

CIF Contract Supervisor Paul Mayer with AECOM (Architecture, Engineering, Construction, and Operations Management) Inc. said the facility's workers have enjoyed the opportunity to work with the Soldiers.

"A lot of us who work here are prior military, so we like working alongside the Soldiers," Mayer said. "Working in the CIF also gives the Soldiers a chance to learn what it's like to work inside a working warehouse. And, we are absolutely happy to have this kind of help. Like many have said — it's a win-win for both of us. They get training, and we get help."

Central Issue Facility Contract Supervisor Paul Mayer with AECOM (Architecture, Engineering, Construction, and Operations Management) Inc. works with a Soldier with the 400th Military Police Battalion Supply Section to complete a project.
Central Issue Facility Contract Supervisor Paul Mayer with AECOM
(Architecture, Engineering, Construction, and Operations Management)
Inc. works with a Soldier with the 400th Military Police Battalion Supply
Section to complete a project.

And there is a reason help is appreciated. Between fiscal years 2012 and 2015, the CIF processed more than 1,057,000 transactions, Lovgren said. In support of three major exercises in 2015, CIF personnel issued items more than 4,000 times, including 265 bulk issues. One bulk issue can contain up to 100 pallets of items.

Spc. Whitfield Thomas, also a unit supply specialist with the 400th, said this training experience was the first time he worked in a large warehouse, and he learned "it is definitely a faster pace."

"When you start working (here), eventually it becomes easier," Thomas said. "You have to be aware of what comes in and what goes out and make sure you keep an accurate count. And overall, it was really good to work here. … The people here are really nice and helpful."

Other supply Soldiers training at the CIF said the biggest thing they'll take from the training opportunity is a better understanding of each other.

"Here we have been able to work together as a team versus in small groups," said Spc. John Hurley. "Now we can go back and jump into our work faster and easier just because we have that strengthened communication capability with each other."

Pfc. Breonna Saunders added, "We have definitely learned to work together better — to be on the same page to complete our work. It makes everything go faster, and that's important in this kind of work."

Lovgren said Soldiers are welcomed back each year.

"If these units want to come back again, we gladly will have them here," Lovgren said. "When they come here, they provide good-quality work, and it's always great having them here."

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