LITTLE ROCK AIR FORCE BASE, Ark. -- Department of Defense resources are a hot commodity. With budget restrictions and changes, the need to utilize resources smartly is important more now than ever. Recently, members of the 189th Logistics Readiness Squadron partnered with active duty and other Guard units to obtain and repurpose more than $18.5M in assets initially designated to support efforts in Afghanistan, back into the DOD enterprise.
Chosen as the distribution hub to bring the parts in from different locations and dispense them, Little Rock Air Force Base officials coordinated with the 189th LRS for additional support in organizing and setting up the mass influx of inventory. Due to the immensity of the project, multiple bases, major commands, and support agencies provided personnel and expertise to ensure the success of the project. The Air Mobility Command team initiated the movement process by gathering the inventory from Pope AFB and bringing it back to Little Rock.
“We wanted to receive all the Afghan-designated assets to satisfy and fill the demands of the Air Force and DOD,” said Tech. Sgt. Ashton Noble, a 189 LRS resource advisor. “This started with active duty receiving all these assets and we were chosen because we have the C-130H and a majority of the assets are for our type of aircraft.”
In order to maintain such a massive influx of parts and equipment, a new warehouse was established for the project, allowing 189 LRS personnel the opportunity to train and support this unique mission. The project also created another cohesive work environment for the active duty and Guard components on base to work side-by-side, fulfilling yet another portion of the base’s total force initiative.
More than 19 semi-truck loads totaling 43,000 assets consisting of medical equipment, communication equipment, aircraft parts and materials, and more were sorted and organized according to type and need. Noble explained that the process is similar to Amazon's when it comes to the organization and distribution process.
“When someone in the Air Force has a need, they put in the request and we fulfill that need,” Noble said. “This is for the entire Air Force so that’s why we’re so busy. Our goal is to have that request shipped out to the customer within a day of receiving the request.”
Currently, four LRS material managers from the 189 AW work in rotation at the warehouse. The solution is permanent, however, and will flex to support the wing’s upcoming C-130J mission. The team started the process on January 27, 2023, and expects complete management and dissemination of the current inventory by the end of May. Noble along with 2nd Lt. Cody Blaylock, the 189 LRS officer in charge of material management expressed their satisfaction working with other Air Force components:
“It’s been good working with active duty counterparts,” Blaylock said. “It’s opened up a lot of training opportunities and opening of doors that I don’t think I would have had without this project. It’s really beneficial to see the other opportunities we have to do our job and see something built from scratch.”
“Our communication has been really good between us and the 19th and the other units,” Noble said. “We’ve all worked really well in not just our specialties but stepping up to take on jobs that we don’t normally do. Our material managers are also doing their job at our wing and then going to building 255 to work on the other projects.”