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    Wounded warrior explains why DCMA matters

    Wounded warrior explains why DCMA matters

    Photo By Misha King | Jeffrey Mittman, a legislative liaison for the Defense Finance and Accounting Service,...... read more read more



    Story by Misha King 

    Defense Contract Management Agency

    STERLING HEIGHTS, Mich. - “I really appreciate the opportunity to speak with all of you who actually touch the warfighters — what you do is important,” said Jeffrey Mittman, a retired Army infantryman who was severely injured in July 2005 while in Iraq on his fourth combat tour.

    Army Col. William Robare, commander of Defense Contract Management Agency Detroit, invited Mittman to speak to his contract management office in support of the agency director’s email encouraging “supervisors to be passionate about hiring wounded warriors.”

    “A good starting point is having someone like Jeff come educate our people, especially the selecting officials and hiring panels,” said Robare. “The Defense Finance and Accounting Service’s ‘Hire a Hero’ program has a small footprint but makes a huge impact. To echo Lt. Gen. Masiello’s recent message to the agency workforce, I think it’s crucial for leaders to communicate with and train our workforce on how best to leverage these types of hiring programs to ensure we bring wounded warriors into our DCMA formation while also supporting the larger departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs team.”

    Mittman, who is currently a legislative liaison for DFAS, explained by hiring wounded veterans, organizations are bringing in employees who already have a value set. “They understand leadership, they understand teamwork, and they understand loyalty to an organization,” he said. “They have the work ethic that will benefit the organization and the nation as a whole.”

    Rick Weigel, DCMA Detroit’s quality assurance director, was one of the hiring managers who attended Mittman’s presentation, which included a breakdown of non-competitive hiring authorities available to supervisors. Weigel said it’s important to remember how easy it can be to bring wounded warriors on board through these expedited programs. He also said the fact they were military members before means these veterans are already significantly trained.

    “A lot of times we overlook the fact we talk DCMA talk and veterans talk military talk,” said Weigel. “Sometimes they have a hard time conveying they know our jobs a lot more than they do just because of the acronyms and lingo we use. Once you get past that, it’s amazing how they fit in and make the organization as a whole better. They know all about teamwork, and I’ve always found them to be a great benefit to DCMA.”

    Robare said another reason he invited Mittman is to remind his CMO why they do their jobs. “I can sit on my soapbox and tell you how important your work is in delivering quality products into the hands of the warfighter,” said Robare, while introducing Mittman to his largely civilian staff, “but, I want you to hear it firsthand from somebody who’s been out there deployed in tough environments and whose life was literally at risk and has survived that contact. I think hearing from him will be a lot more meaningful than hearing it from me.”

    Mittman suffered from a mild brain injury during his last combat tour in Iraq when an improvised explosive device exploded and penetrated his vehicle. He also lost his nose, lips, left eye, central vision in his right eye, most of his teeth and his trigger finger. During his long road to recovery, Mittman said he gained a unique perspective on what happens between the factory floor and the front line because he’s had the opportunity to visit with personnel across DoD and connect the dots in a way most service members never do.

    “In the infantry, they tell you you’re the ‘tip of the spear,’ you’re it,” Mittman explained. “I’d be on the mountaintop and ammo was dropped to me. I had no idea how it got there. I never knew who bought the helmet that protected me from the brunt of that blast to my head, a blast that went through an armored vehicle. But I’m still able to function today, and that’s because of the products and services people provided for me along the way.”

    DCMA plays a major role in ensuring warfighters like Mittman not only receive those products on time, but they also meet the quality standards specified in the contract between the customer and the contractor — standards put in place to save lives.

    “DCMA quality folks are right at the ‘tip of the spear’ back here at the contractor plant,” said Weigel. “We’re the last ones to touch something before it’s sent downrange. It’s crucial for us to always remember our mission, why we’re doing it and constantly bring home that point.”

    Weigel said Mittman’s presentation did just that — it reminded those in the audience what they’re doing and its importance. “It’s inspiring when we have any of our warriors come back and talk to us, but it’s especially impactful when it’s a wounded veteran,” he said. “Some of our own people here were warriors, and many of us have parents, siblings and children who served. When you think about it like that, it really sends home the message of how important DCMA’s job is.”

    Mittman said although most people don’t hear or read about it in the news, the U.S. still has thousands of service members in Afghanistan and hundreds in Iraq “who still need equipment to fight the war and save their teammates’ lives if they get hit like I did. And, they’re still getting hit. That person out there in Kabul or Kandahar right now might not know DCMA even exists, but they see the results of your efforts. From me to you, and on their behalf, thank you for what you’re doing here because it matters. Without people like you and those across DoD and the VA, I wouldn’t be here today.”



    Date Taken: 05.28.2015
    Date Posted: 06.01.2015 13:42
    Story ID: 165112
    Hometown: INDIANAPOLIS, IN, US
    Hometown: NEW PALESTINE, IN, US

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