News: 'DLA chicks' in Afghanistan invite spontaneous customer feedback
Story by Beth Reece
KABUL, Afghanistan - Three women deployed with Defense Logistics Agency Support Team-Afghanistan call themselves “the DLA chicks” for those who live and work on the New Kabul Compound, and they have the shirts to prove it.
Marian Hunter from DLA Aviation, Ana Sanders from DLA Troop Support, and Christine Bartridge from DLA Energy are so determined to connect with customers they had shirts made with the saying, “Logistics needs, problems … Don’t worry … The DLA chicks are here!”
The women have been wearing the shirts on dress-down Fridays for more than a month, and they’ve generated plenty of spontaneous feedback from customers. Several female service members have asked where they can get the shirts, which they assumed were an official DLA-issued product. Customers have also approached the women while they were eating in the dining facility to question the absence of their favorite food items.
“They had one Army general start talking to them about items he missed having and asked if they could get them back in. The shirts have really inspired people to respond in ways we didn’t anticipate,” DLA Support Team Afghanistan Commander Navy Capt. Doug Noble said.
Noble said the women are eager to show their pride in DLA.
“It would be much easier, as a DLA employee, to go to the dining facility and eat in peace, without having to face potential customers interrupting your meal to ask about particular food items, but they’re willing to wear their badge on their chest and invite customers to come talk to them,” he said.
DLA Support Team members work directly with warfighters on the ground to ensure seamless logistics support. Ensuring the right availability of food items in dining facilities has been a prominent area of concern in recent months as DLA transitioned to a new subsistence prime vendor. Building supplies are another commodity that often draws questions.
“There is often a misconception that DLA is pushing materials such as plywood into theater rather than filling orders placed by customers. This is another area where we work hard to educate them about the role that DLA plays,” Hunter added.
The DLA Chicks have 95 years of military and civilian service combined among them. This is the first DLA deployment for Bartridge, who spent 20 years in the Air Force.
“I know it’s a strain on my office to have me gone for six months, but this experience rounds out my giving back to the troops,” she said.
This is Sanders’ second deployment, and Hunter’s sixth.