Exceptional Release Presents Achieving Victory through Sustainment in a Pandemic
By the Officers of the 377th Logistics Readiness Squadron 2LT Jeremy Gaudlitz, 2LT Joshua S. O’Donnell, 2LT Jessica Graham, 1LT Max Brown-Bass, Capt Jamal Alford and Lt Col Dan McGuire
We have a saying here in the 377th Logistics Readiness Squadron (LRS): “It’s not enough to be good at the mission, we want you to be good at life.” Intentionally cultivated, this mindset enables our logistic leaders and teams to successfully perform no matter the circumstance. During this pandemic, the great men and women of the 377 LRS consistently demonstrate benchmark installation support through innovation and adaptation.
377 LRS consistently demonstrate benchmark installation support through innovation and adaptation.
They incorporated many incredible benchmarks from fellow LRSs, industry best practices, and communication technologies to ensure Sustinendum Victorium (Victory through Sustainment), mission assurance for Team Kirtland, and continued growth of camaraderie and connectedness. The spotlighted areas include Ground Transportation (GT), Traffic Management (TMO), Vehicle Management (VM), and an internal operational approach.
377 LRS Operational Approach to COVID-19 with three Lines of Effort
Cultivating a unit with an ability to adapt at a moment’s notice does not happen overnight. It takes months of preparation, conversation, and teaching within the topics of strategic foresight and risk mitigation. To this end, the GT team has proven one of the installation’s most valuable assets during the pandemic response. Handpicked to receive and distribute over $100K of supplies, the GT team planned support to over 100 mission partners and 23,000 personnel within 48 hours. To streamline the delivery and staging process, the GT team utilized the Theory of Constraints to quantify an optimal work in progress (WIP) and throughput.
Implementing best practices from food banks and relief centers, the GT team designed standardized boxes of supplies to meet either short-term or long-term demands. Following additional best practices from Home Depot and Chick-fil-A, the team created a no-hassle drive-through distribution point that allowed for a no-contact delivery. To date, the team has successfully distributed over 162,000 disinfectant wipes, 15,100 ounces of hand sanitizer, 500 rolls of paper towels, and 230 spray bottles of disinfectant.
Implementing best practices from food banks and relief centers, the GT team designed standardized boxes of supplies to meet either short-term or long-term demands.
377 LRS’ Process to Assemble the Standardized Boxes of Supplies
The TMO at Kirtland AFB adapted to a COVID-19 contested environment with precise timing and teamwork. TMO Airmen collaborated with the 377th Medical Group to devise a quarantine system for inbound cargo ranging from 24 to 72 hours. As the logistics experts for the base, the 377 LRS drafted an Installation Commander Directive with guidance and procedures regarding the receipt and distribution of goods and services.
TMO Airmen collaborated with the 377th Medical Group to devise a quarantine system for inbound cargo ranging from 24 to 72 hours.
This effort safeguarded installation personnel from potential contagion on or within the packaging and standardized the approach to last-mile delivery. To meet mission requirements of three wings and five MAJCOMs, TMO strategically rotated four two-person teams to ensure redundancy and effective communication without any transportation discrepancies. To posture for inevitable recovery operations, TMO tested and verified its ability to clear any backlog with a two-day surge once a month.
Quarantine Area for Inbound Cargo
As an additional connection point for the installation, the 377 LRS VM team underwent significant personnel and process adjustments to sustain, and then exceed, mission capable (MC) rates and mission essential levels (MEL). As the installation’s response measures unfolded, a visible decrease in vehicle usage, accidents and unscheduled maintenance occurred. After analyzing the resulting WIP and throughput, the VM team implemented a weekly, split team schedule with an optimal mix of general and specialized maintenance.
These adjustments enabled the fleet to reach a 94% MC rate, (6% improvement and the highest in 15 months) and benchmarks in MEL sustainment. To ensure a COVID-free vehicle posture, the Customer Service section implemented strict protocols to disinfect every vehicle touchpoint at every changeover in the chain of custody and educated all unit Vehicle Control Officers on proper vehicle cleaning procedures.
These adjustments enabled the fleet to reach a 94% MC rate, (6% improvement and the highest in 15 months) and benchmarks in MEL sustainment.
Perhaps most importantly, the 377 LRS used this time to foster strategic connection and reinforce teamwork. Utilizing social media technology, the squadron holds weekly professional development events and “all calls” with Airmen and families, monthly resiliency small groups, and “growth challenges” in physical fitness and education.
The 377 LRS also teamed with its New Mexico teammates (27 LRS and 49 LRS) for an Officer Professional Development on “Leadership during a Pandemic” and virtual roadshow with the Air Force Personnel Center (AFPC). Finally, our strong squadron Spouse Group used creativity and just a couple of sewing machines to support our Airmen. LRS cardholders teamed with the spouses to procure the necessary materials and mass-produced over 200 face cloth coverings within 75 hours.
Mass-Producing Face Masks (200 in 75-hrs)
The Air Force places many demanding tasks on our logisticians that may sometimes go unnoticed. However, in times like these, we see that crisis breeds transparency. Logisticians around the globe have responded to this challenge with a united display of character, expertise and dedication to the mission. We hope this article helps highlight the efforts of all logisticians and our collective ability to adapt, succeed, and prevail. Finally, from us to you, “Day or night, we bring the fight!”