JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska –
Directly across from the Alaska Army National Guard Memorial Park, just north of the Alaska National Guard armory, is Alaska’s United States Property and Fiscal Office. In that rather unassuming building, Soldiers of a nationally recognized Supply Support Activity for the Alaska Army National Guard go about their daily duties. This year, these Guardsmen have won first place among all other brigades and SSAs for the Army National Guard in the Chief of Staff, Army Supply Excellence Award Program.
Responsible for all funds and property under the AKARNG, the USFPO’s SSA ensures efficient shipping and receiving of supplies to all of the Army Guard in the state. An undertaking spanning a year, the SEA program vigorously scrutinizes all Army supply units across the country, searching for inconsistencies, inaccuracies or any deviation from military-set procedures.
For the past few years, the USPFO SSA has passed their annual Command Discipline Program inspection with a perfect score, prompting recommendation for the awards program. Christina Polk, the supply and services division chief, considers it an accomplishment in itself to be part of the competition.
“In order to participate in the Supply Excellence competition, you must maintain a superior supply discipline program,” said Polk. “We ensured that all regulatory procedures were followed consistently in regards to ‘turn in’ procedures and warehouse operations.”
With inspectors straight from the Logistics Training Department at the U.S. Army Quartermaster School, the program aims to enhance the logistical readiness for the entire Army. Sgt. 1st Class Tara Church, warehouse manager for the USPFO, has overseen the movement of supplies for all Army Guard units in the state. Throughout the entire competition, she worked with her team in achieving and maintaining complete system standardization.
“They’re looking at the regulation and how we are following it,” Church explained. “We are responsible for meeting a checklist, maintaining all our paperwork, maintaining accountability of all supplies coming and going, and following timelines,” she said. “Those are the sort of things they’re looking for in their inspection.”
With this national accolade in hand, the Guardsmen plan on seizing the opportunity to highlight the importance of accurate and thorough supply processes in Army units across the country. This aligns with one of the program’s primary objectives of increasing public awareness.
“We plan on sharing our knowledge base with the rest of the units,” Polk disclosed. “We want to ensure that the logistics community is able to take some of the lessons we have learned and put them into practice."
Lt. Col. Chris Weaver, Alaska’s deputy USFPO, said he recognizes the influence the unit can have beyond the Alaska National Guard.
“It’s the dedication to the job and always wanting to do a great job that has won them this award," said Weaver, delving into the degree of personal commitment from each Soldier. “Not a good job, but a great job for the USFPO and the Alaska Army National Guard. If that’s something people take away from this, then it’s so much more than an award.”
Having earned first place at their level, the Soldiers of supply know the bar has been raised. Church and her team have every intention of maintaining the standard that has been set.
“We are going to make sure we keep up with what we have been doing while trying to improve it,” she said. “Things can change and progress. Winning doesn’t mean you’re done. There is always room for improvement.”