Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Logistics: A Lesson Learned  
ROTC Cadets, Academy students, and 2nd Lieutenant Platoon Leaders who have yet to work at company and battalion level, be warned! I am the ghost of your combat future!

Here's my headache du jour.

We've got nearly a couple of dozen vehicles here that we didn't bring out with us; we drew them in theater. Which means they stay in theater when we leave. Which in turn means we've got to turn them back over to the division loggies in the rear.

Which actually poses quite a headache. See, every vehicle is SUPPOSED to come with a whole assortment of tools, a jack, a handle, a lug wrench, one or more fire extinguishers, a couple of 5 gallon fuel cans, logbooks, a manual, a first aid kit, traffic warning markers, and various and sundry other stuff. All this kit is called the vehicle's "Basic Issue Items," or BII.

I've been in infantry units, and I've been in armor units. Tankers and Mech infantry are pretty good at keeping track of their BII. Which is easy to do for them, because it's basically locked in a footlocker which is permanently attached to the turret. Tank BII can be expensive to lose, so tankers are religious about inventorying the BII every time the tank changes hands.

Light infantry soldiers tend to suck at it.

Now, that's not a huge problem if a unit is operating alone. You just have the drivers sign for the BII and if it comes up missing, guess who pays for it.

But units don't operate alone. And for much of the year we've had three companies and dozens and dozens of vehicles from section to section, and from company to company, on no notice.

"We've got a mission and we need the vehicle now!"
"Well, let me go find the driver and you can sign for the BII from him"
"No, no...there's no time! We gotta roll!"

...Or, alternatively, I'll find out about the transfer after the fact. "Hey, Lt. Van, Alpha company needed a vehicle last night. I just told them to grab a truck. So they've got HQ 52 now."

No inventory, no nothing.

Well, now it's time to pay the piper for all that confusion. Every truck we turn back over has to come with a list of BII that's missing on it. That's easy, because we know what they're supposed to have.

But if the Army wants to try to hold someone accountable for the equipment, it's going to be tough.

It's not the drivers' fault their vehicle was taken from them, or if someone higher gave the order to hand over the vehicle without a full inventory.

And you can't blame the company commanders, if the higher headquarters is swapping trucks from one unit to the other without even notifying the chain of command.

And you can't blame the higher headquarters for issuing the neccessary orders to make the mission happen.

That said, if I could go back in time a year or three, I would have been much more of a Nazi bastard over BII accountability, and worked harder to create a culture where such willy-nilly transfers were almost unthinkable.

Splash, out


Comments: Post a Comment

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Site Meter

Prev | List | Random | Next
Powered by RingSurf!

Prev | List | Random | Next
Powered by RingSurf!