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    Supply Support Activity Fights for Readiness, Everyday

    Supply Support Activity Fights for Readiness, Everyday

    Photo By Staff Sgt. Adam Decker | Spc. Damune Alex, 92A with SSA Platoon, Atlas Distribution Company, 101st Brigade...... read more read more



    Story by Staff Sgt. Adam Decker 

    358th Public Affairs Detachment

    Supply Support Activity Fights for Readiness, Everyday

    GRAFENWOEHR, Germany
    It’s a brisk morning in Hohenfels, Germany. The concertina wire circling the unit maintenance collection point is wet with the morning dew. Last night’s fight has the mechanics tired and, although the teams losses were low, every mechanic counts when you’re fighting to build combat power. The late night delivery from the distro platoon brought a kicker box filled with parts. They all need to be installed to get these M1 Abrams Tanks and M2 Bradley Fighting Vehicles back in the fight.

    That’s the story of the unit-maintenance collection point and I operations in today’s large scale ground combat operations. Constantly fighting to move equipment into the fight and protect our sustainment nodes is tiring and takes a lot of coordination across the sustainment enterprise and the repair parts have to be on time and on target. To improve the brigade combat teams’(BCT) ability to deliver the right parts at the right time the Army Materiel Command (AMC) developed the expeditionary common authorized stockage list (ECASL). Infantry BCT, Stryker BCT, and Armored BCTs across the Army now carry more than 4,300 parts everywhere they go. This is a discussion of deploying that ECASL into the rigors of the geography and enemy at the Hohenfels Training Area in Germany.

    The Supply Support Activity (SSA) Platoon with Atlas Distribution Company, 101st Brigade Support Battalion, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, deployed the ECASL to Combined Resolve with the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team at Hohenfels, Germany, Aug. 2019.

    “This is the first time we deployed the entire authorized stockage list (ASL) to the field,” said Capt. Mathew M. Lanter, commander of the Atlas Distribution Company, 101 BSB. “We split our team to receive inbound supplies at Grafenwoehr and then, with the help of the combat service support battalion, had it transported down to us in the field where we continued to pick parts and enable the brigade maintenance mission to happen.”

    ECASL, also called Common Core ASL, provides efficient customer support directly tied to the ABCT fleet and carries class II (Unit Supply), class III (Petroleum, oil and lubricants), and class IX (maintenance and repair parts). The ECASL consists of 18 “BOH” containers and 35 container roll off platforms also called “flat-racks.” BOH containers are specialized containers with drawers in them; that can haul organized parts in a standard format; no matter what ABCT SSA you visit in the Army the parts are in the same spot. Flat-racks have larger “bulk” items on them that would not necessarily fit in a container: engines, tires, track, etc. That whole package of 53 items make up the entirety of the ECASL. The brigade SSA has 4,350 authorized to forecast lines (AFT) worth approximately $35 million. The Common Core ASL is a specific list of parts that are common in every distribution company in every ABCT.

    “We carry it around with us, we have it at Fort Riley, and we brought it out here [in support of Atlantic Resolve],” said Cpt. Lanter. “SSA is one of my three platoons and they process parts for the entire brigade. Mostly Class IX repair parts for maintenance operations, but we also provide general supplies. The bottom line is that any supplies the brigade needs comes through the SSA.”

    The brigade SSA’s main focus is to provide maintenance significant parts (MSP) to the field to ensure Commanders’ fleets are operational.

    “Our team here with the brigade is to be able to supply items to the commanders and the FSCs (Forward Support Company) for the tanks, bradleys, howitzers, and everything that is maintenance oriented across the brigade,” said Warrant Officer James Copeland, SAA Accountable Officer for Atlas Distribution Company, 101st BSB.

    “[The work the SSA does] keeps the brigade moving. When anything breaks, the part has to come through the SSA to get to the unit,” said Capt. Lanter. “Once the parts are issued we make a back-fill order to restock our ASL so it is there the next time a unit needs it.”

    ECASL provides the correct ASL for a BCT based on inventory consumption rates. The current value of the entire ASL is about $35 million.

    The maintenance parts that make up the brigade SSA are owned by the AMC and is the responsibility of the 101st BSB, specifically the Accountable Officer, to maintain and manage. Once the brigade purchases requisitions or orders then that material is owned by the brigade.

    “The SSA is the backbone of the brigade’s maintenance mission. Between the SSA platoon and the distribution of the ASL, the brigade is able to make essential repairs.” said WO1 Copeland.

    “We take our role in the brigade’s maintenance fight very seriously,” said Capt. Lanter. “If a tank company fails then there is another four or five other tank companies that can cover down on them. If we fail, there is no other distribution company, no other ASL.”

    “The Army standard is 90% operational readiness. The purpose of CASL is to provide more Class IX to achieve that minimum standard,” said Lt. Col. David Guida, 101st BSB, 1ABCT, 1ID Battalion Commander. “Our number one priority in the BSB is to fight to improve readiness which, in the ABCT, directly correlates to lethality. Our operations at the SSA are essential to keep the brigade’s operational fleet above 90%. We have fought hard to accomplish this task during our rotation to Atlantic Resolve. The SSA has accomplished a lot in just 8 months. This platoon received and issued almost 130k parts. They are also responsible for recoverable items. Getting the recoverables back into the supply system for rebuild is essential. To date we have received over 5k recoverables. The total dollar amount of items processed is over $90 million.”

    Capt. Lanter said that he was most proud of his SSA platoon for accomplishing everything the rotation has required and done it without question or complaints. Their attitude in the face of a heavy and unending workload is a credit to each.

    On a weekly basis the brigade SSA will average anywhere from five to ten trucks, around 4,000 goods receipts into the SSA, and goods issued are around 3,000 to 3,500 lines out of the ASL.

    “The volume of work that we’ve had here in this SSA, in the Devil Brigade, is extremely high,” said WO1 Copeland. “We work hard to identify any shortfalls and gaps inside the SSA then determine what works best to fill them. Focusing on those key areas provides the best maintenance significant support for the brigade.”

    Every 92A, Automated Logistical Specialist, will process parts in either the storage, issue, receiving, or the turn-in section. Daily this could be 150 turn-ins of recoverable material, receiving 1,000-1,500 lines off the trucks; which will then be processed through either customer issuing or put away for storage, 100-150 picks out of storage, and also tracking shipments and parts through digital software.

    “Working at the SSA is stressful; you can’t expect the same thing every day,” said Spc. Alec Sikorski, 92A, stock control clerk, SSA Platoon, Atlas Distribution Company, 101st BSB. “One day it might be slow with only 1-2 trucks and a few customers and then some days you will just get knocked.”

    The different sections of effort at the SSA are: Receiving - downloading trucks and processing the items by sending them to storage or out to the customer. Storage - all the ATF or on-hand stock; received items get refilled back into storage and then upon a customer purchase parts are pulled/picked from storage. Turn-in - occurs when a customer orders a part since they have to turn in the old part as they receive the new part. Issue - processing items for delivery to customers. Stock control - has the duties of the warehouse monitor.

    “The organized chaos in the brigade SSA; as one of the busiest SSAs in the Army, the organized chaos is having a good solid foundation with your NCOs, your leaders, and your Soldiers to have a good understanding of what work looks like,” said WO1 Copland. “These Soldiers know what work looks like…. I am most proud of these Soldiers’ resiliency. They come in and do it every day. It doesn’t matter what the environment is, the SSA must work.”

    The core of effort comes from the full-time 92As working a significant amount of hours. The daily operational hours are currently from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. The Devil Brigade SSA has only 75% of the total authorized personnel, which makes them significantly understaffed, especially when you look at the workload. Augmentation to the SSA has helped significantly with the manning shortfalls and heavy workload.

    “Generally when my other platoons are done, when the rest of the battalion, and honestly when the brigade is done, those guys are still there working,” said Cpt. Lanter. “They are putting forth a massive amount of effort to make sure our operational fleet remains above 90%.”

    Pulling Soldiers from other platoons for 30-days at a time and cross-training them to work along with the SSA platoon has enabled the team to keep a hold on the high volume workload.

    “The learning curve is steep for a Quartermaster Soldier trying to teach somebody outside of that element; but after about 3-4 days of over-the-shoulder training they are able to operate effectively in the SSA,” said WO1 Copleand. “The productivity is great. They have a can-do attitude.”

    “Yeah it’s going to be stressful and tiring,” said Spc. Sikorski. “I have to give a shout out to my team because they are the biggest aspect of where we are. I might be behind that desk seeing everything they do but they are the ones out there getting the work [done], doing everything, sweating, and working until 10 p.m. even when it is snowing or hot outside, they are out there every single day.”

    “The SSA has accomplished an incredible amount both through the train up and this rotation to Atlantic Resolve,” said Lt. Col. Dave Guida. “They have been a constant example of selfless service and absolutely essential to the brigade’s operational readiness. I couldn’t be prouder of their hard work and their attitude. The fight for them at Atlantic Resolve is coming to an end soon but SSA operations are so vital to the brigade that they will be back and operational at Fort Riley as soon as their reintegration training is done.”



    Date Taken: 09.04.2019
    Date Posted: 09.16.2019 07:23
    Story ID: 341053
    Location: GRAFENWOEHR, DE 

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