News: SOCOM soldier honored as distinguished member of 75th Ranger Regiment
Story by Master Sgt. Frederick Zimmerman
TAMPA, Fla. - An active-duty member of U.S. Special Operations Command’s logistics directorate was recently honored by his previous command by naming him to an elite group of members who have helped carve the unit’s prestigious history.
Chief Warrant Officer 5 Billy Frazier Jr., the USSOCOM property management officer, was named a distinguished member of the 75th Ranger Regiment during a July 23 ceremony at Fort Benning, Ga., which was part of the Ranger Rendezvous.
Soldiers are named as distinguished members of the 75th Ranger Regiment for their outstanding accomplishments while assigned to the unit.
Frazier first served with the Regiment in 1994 as a company supply sergeant with Bravo Company, 3rd Ranger Battalion, after completing initial Ranger training. While there, he deployed to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in support of operation Uphold Democracy. Frazier stayed in the regiment, serving with headquarters, headquarters company, as the company supply sergeant from 1996 to 1997, until his selection to attend Warrant Officer Candidate School.
Fast forward to 2008, and Frazier was back on his old stomping grounds with the regiment, this time serving as the regimental property book officer as a chief warrant officer 4. He served there until February 2013, and it was during that time he played a key role in shaping the logistics future of the unit, earning him the distinguished member honors.
Frazier and his team changed the way supply kept the logistics train moving, ensuring the warfighters of the regiment had the proper equipment and were always ready for the next mission.
“We looked at a lot of things from an operational perspective – made sure logistics tied into the operational picture,” Frazier said. “Back in the day we were more in a training environment, where now we are in an operational environment. We have to make sure the systems are able to support that, but are just as flexible and efficient so when we get guys back, we get them through the reset process, training process, op-alert and then back into the fight.”
Frazier said one way they did that was by building three Ranger Issue Facilities (RIFs) – supply warehouses designed for Rangers and stocked with all the gear needed for their training and deployments. The facilities replaced an old way of doing business – issuing gear out of shipping containers in the elements, whether raining or cold. The new facilities keep the Rangers from the elements, and give them a comfortable place to receive gear, which can often take hours.
“What we found is that we needed to build a facility Rangers could go to and be comfortable, because there’s a long wait time, but more importantly make sure they know that facility is there for them,” said Frazier, a soldier of 25 years. “It’s not a [Central Issue Facility], it’s shaped in particular for them and their mission, not only in garrison but also forward.
“The RIFs are a collaborative effort among all the logisticians in the regiment,” Frazier added. “I see that facility as one of the fundamental pieces of the regiment because it’s a cornerstone … because it actually ensures that the individual Ranger, when he gets in that aircraft, he has all the necessary kit he needs to do his mission set.”
In addition to building the facilities, Frazier and his fellow logisticians took a look at the property books and ensured they were updated to reflect the gear Rangers currently need and use. He said that by doing so, it took pressure off of the company commanders who sign for the gear.
“We needed to figure out if we’re being efficient, if we were providing relief of pressure on the force,” Frazier said. “If you have a company commander coming off deployment that’s spending all his reset time doing inventories – are we really efficient? Is he counting widgets just to count widgets, or is he counting widgets that he actually needs?”
The solution Frazier and his staff came up with was taking items off the inventory that weren’t being used operationally. This took the responsibility of accounting for gear that wasn’t being used downrange off of commanders, whose property books now only included the gear they actually needed, as well as helping to mitigate losses. Frazier said this helped align P-11 assets – Special Operations Forces Equipment – and made authorizations visible in the service system, allowing commanders to see all the gear they are authorized to have.
By reducing the table of organization and equipment, Frazier and his staff were able to take approximately 300 pieces of “rolling stock” off the books within a two-year period.
“Now company commanders, supply sergeants, platoon sergeants aren’t out there inventorying Humvees that they’ll never use in combat, just for the sake of inventorying,” Frazier said. “We shrunk the books down to the right size.”
While Frazier was honored by the recognition, he’s also very humble, and repeatedly said this recognition wasn’t about him.
“I only did my job as a Ranger, but more importantly our logistical success over the past four-and-a-half years is due to the 75th Ranger Regiment's leadership throughout, from the team leaders and above,” he said. “It was the support of the regimental commander, regimental [command sergeant major], the regimental staff, battalion leadership, logisticians, and Rangers at all levels … as well as our exceptional civilian counterparts within the team. Success also is directly tied to the superb support from higher such as the USASOC Headquarters, as well as the USSOCOM staff.
“It was an honor and a privilege to be part of the regiment, because every day I was able to go to work and look my heroes directly in the face. Those guys are doing a tremendous amount of work in the [area of responsibility], and they are modern-day heroes … guys that have written our history in a lot of ways. Just to be a part of that was an honor and privilege.”
And while Frazier was honored to work with his heroes, he was even more honored for the respect shown to him when he was honored in his job as a logistician.
“Just to be on stage with [the fellow honorees at this year’s ceremony] was eye-watering to me because you have proven combat veterans that haven’t just done it once, twice or three times, they’ve done it 10, 11 or 12 times,” Frazier said. “So to be acknowledged in that forum and be part of that family … it was very overwhelming.”