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    Answering the call – Army and DoD civilians volunteer to deploy

    Answering the call – Army and DoD civilians volunteer to deploy

    Courtesy Photo | John McVey, a quality assurance specialist from Defense Contract Management Agency in...... read more read more



    Story by Mary Barkley 

    401st Army Field Support Brigade

    BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan - Deployment is a fact of life for those wearing the uniform in every branch and component of the U.S. Armed Forces. Deployment is not a fact of life for the majority of civilian workers with the Department of Defense. But, many civilians do deploy for a variety of reasons and some for long periods of time or multiple times.

    When Army Field Support Battalion Afghanistan was faced with the loss of long-term personnel and a lengthy hiring process, a call was put out for volunteers within the Army Material Command structure to deploy for at least six months. Several quality assurance specialists from Defense Contract Management Agency also volunteered. While many answered the call, here are highlights from a few of their stories.

    The overriding reasons for deploying centered on wanting to give back or a sense of duty. Some deployed because they wanted the experience and some repeat deployers enjoy working directly with the troops.

    “I can’t think of anything better than serving those who protect me, my family and the entire United States of America,” said Annie Bob, deployed as the battalion S6 form her job at Fort Sam Houston where she is an information technology specialist.

    “I felt it a duty and honor to be able to volunteer and support,” said Tonia Kennedy, deputy support operations officer for the battalion.

    Kennedy deployed previously for 21 days, but the Army Sustainment Command equipment division chief is back for six months.

    Two of the new team members on their first deployment are Tiffany Currie, a logistics management specialist with nearly six years of civilian service, and Barry Tabron, a lead logistics management specialist with more than 30 years of civilian service, both are on their first deployments and both come from TACOM.

    Currie and Tabron deployed for similar reasons with Currie saying she "wanted to see what the job was like on the other side of the spectrum" and Tabron saying he wanted the experience of supporting the mission at Bagram.

    As primary hand receipt holders, Currie and Tabron, are learning new skill sets at an "aggressive pace," according to Tabron.

    Currie said it has been most gratifying to see first-hand how the logistics, transportation and supply processes work.

    “I was behind the scenes … and wanted to see for myself what was happening on the ground,” said Harold Wilson, currently assigned to the battalion S4 and deployed from TACOM where he is a systems analyst for the Logistics Modernization Program.

    Many of the group have numerous deployments and cite their reasons for another deployment as liking the work in a contingency environment, job satisfaction in directly supporting troops, or a sense of being where they feel the make the biggest difference.

    Each deployer found unexpected things once they were on the ground and getting acclimated. They cited the fast pace and urgency of the mission, the scope of the battalion mission, the fact that the mission is constantly evolving and the new sights and sounds.

    The early assessment is that most, if not all, would volunteer to deploy again or recommend it to others.

    “Any DAC [Department of the Army Civilian] that deploys gets the opportunity to experience what the Army is all about and gain vast knowledge and skills that will benefit their command and organizations back home,” said Gilberto Ponce, a primary hand receipt holder who deployed from Army Sustainment Command where he is a logistics management specialist.

    “Do it, but be prepared to learn about the job and yourself,” Tabron said.

    John McVey is a quality assurance specialist at who deployed from Defense Contract Management Agency at Redstone Arsenal and is serving in that capacity during his deployment.

    He said the "experience gained in a downrange environment is invaluable to us both professionally and in appreciating all the freedoms … back home."

    David Lee, a quality assurance specialist deployed from DCMA said he would recommend deployment because you can work with the people actually using the equipment.

    Finally, Robert Metcalf, a DCMA deployer from East Hartford, Connecticut, recommends deployment for the life experience and satisfaction in knowing that the warfighters are provided the proper equipment so they can do their job.

    “Having the DA Civilians to support in a TDY status to fill the gap until the term [personnel] arrive is critical in keeping our mission intact,” said Sgt. Maj. Tyrone P. Legier, AFSBn-AFG senior enlisted adviser. “We truly appreciate our TDY teammates as they volunteer for this assignment with AFSBn-AFG. The knowledge, experience and commitment they bring to the team is invaluable!”



    Date Taken: 06.08.2015
    Date Posted: 06.08.2015 06:20
    Story ID: 165821
    Location: BAGRAM AIR FIELD, AF 
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