Tech. Sgt. Surnicke Graham, noncommissioned officer in charge of the 673d Logistics Readiness Squadron Individual Protective Equipment Element, discusses issue list with U.S. Air force Staff Sgt. Donald Steelfox, Jan. 17, 2018, at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska. The 673d LRS/IPE is responsible for inspecting all chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear IPE. (Photo by Airman 1st Class Crystal A. Jenkins)
JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- Like spokes on a wheel, the 673d Logistics Readiness Squadron’s (LRS) Materiel Management Flight provides balance, strength and supply-chain support to help Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson (JBER) accomplish the mission.
The flight, often referred to as supply, has an enormously diverse mission set–the stocking, storing, issuing, managing, inventorying and inspecting of all Department of Defense supplies and equipment to sustain nearly every aircraft stationed at JBER. Being tasked with the management and distribution of 1.7 million assets valued at $671 million means having a 99-percent inventory accuracy rate is no trivial task.
To provide agile, responsive logistics to sustain JBER’s arctic warriors, specialized elements undertake each aspect.
“Without materiel managers performing their assigned tasks, JBER’s Airmen would not have mission-ready aircraft, the related mission support equipment, or the individual protective equipment needed to prevail in air, space and cyberspace,” said Michael Holmquist, Materiel Management Flight chief for the 673d LRS. “My team works tirelessly to provide what is needed for every situation, day or night.”
The Materiel Management Flight is staffed by more than 75 personnel spread throughout four specialized elements: asset management, flight service center, physical inventory and customer support.
Asset management section
One of the largest elements is the asset management section, containing five elements of its own; central storage, the aircrafts parts store, hazardous materials tracking activity, the individual equipment element, and individual protective equipment.
Central storage, the aircraft parts store and hazardous materials tracking activity all have very similar job responsibilities; they provide effective stock management to meet sorties and distribute assets across the DoD enterprise to fill global requirements.
The aircraft parts store additionally manages JBER’s five mobility readiness spares package kits and equipment, valued at more than $111 million, in order to support aircraft requirements for contingency operations and joint exercises.
The individual protective equipment section makes certain JBER’s Airmen are prepared for whatever mission they might meet, whether the need is for chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear IPE or individual body armor.
Flight service center
The flight service center (FSC) serves as the primary point of contact for repairs and repair-cycle management. Everything from road pavers to electronic aircraft parts go to the FSC.
“We are the hub for everyone who is looking to get an asset worked on, turned in, repaired at some level, or pumped back into the supply system,” said Tech. Sgt. Abiola Gomes, flight service center noncommissioned officer in charge. “Regardless what unit you work for, we are the focal point at this base to accomplish all of these things.”
The FSC coordinates with Air Force item managers to expedite the shipment of parts to repair facilities for replacement or repair of aircraft parts and base support equipment.
“What we do here impacts not only this base, but the entire Air Force,” said Noel Holder, FSC supervisor. “The parts we turn in are recycled back into the system once they are repaired. The faster we get it out of here, the sooner it gets repaired, which then can fill potential critical requisitions all over the world.”
The physical inventory element keeps accountability of all parts, pre-positioning them so when aircraft need them, they are ready for issue.
“What we do affects all the aircraft out there,” said Tech. Sgt. David Knight Jr., physical inventory noncommissioned officer in charge. “I tell my Airmen every day, what they do matters. If parts are not inventoried correctly, it can mean the difference whether or not an aircraft can fulfill its mission.”
The element publishes an annual inventory schedule for all categories of property and researches inventory discrepancies to help units stay up-to-date on available parts.
Customer Support Section
The equipment accountability element (EAE) and customer support liaison respond to customers’ logistics concerns and work proactively to anticipate problems that could stand in the way of wing units fulfilling the mission.
Working with more than 130 different equipment accounts, the EAE supports units who may need to place orders for any equipment shortages and processes these transactions on a monthly, quarterly and annual basis depending on the type of equipment. EAE works with equipment custodians to ensure they have the right equipment on hand to accomplish their home-station and deployed missions.
“Just like service members get tasked for deployment, so does equipment,” said Air Force Master Sgt. Stacy Summey, 673d LRS Materiel Management superintendent of plans and programs. “For these taskings or deployments, the custodians let equipment accountability know when the equipment is leaving the base.”
Despite the numerous elements of the 673d LRS Materiel Management accountability, proficiency and reliability are key components driving the flight regardless of its day-to-day visibility.
“Even though this can be a thankless job, our personnel work hard to ensure sorties are being generated by providing critical supply-chain support to help U.S. Pacific Command and North American Aerospace Defense Command accomplish their mission,” said Senior Master Sgt. Nabile Sanchez, 673d LRS Materiel Management Flight superintendent. “They make sure JBER's Airmen are equipped, whether it is with the proper protective gear or parts for an aircraft.”