Richmond, Virginia -- The Virginia National Guard’s mission in Washington, D.C., leading up to the 59th Presidential Inauguration required an unprecedented effort from the Virginia National Guard logistics community.
“The greatest compliment so far from this mission is a commander briefing that, 'The logistics are just falling into place,’” said Maj. Allie G. Oberoi, a battle captain in the Virginia National Guard J4. “Of course, we work incredibly hard to pull together support for missions, but to have units see our output as effortless means we are doing it right.”
Virginia Army National Guard logistics personnel provided uniforms and equipment to the more than 2,400 Virginia National Guard Soldiers and Airmen on duty in Washington, D.C. They established a mobile Central Issue Facility which delivered cold weather gear and mission essential equipment directly to the Soldiers.
Beginning Jan, 6, 2021, Virginia Central Issue Facility began supplying the Virginia National Guard contingent to the Washington D.C. mission. Supplemented by personnel from the Supply Support Activity and their organic transport capabilities, the CIF/SSA team assembled cold weather gear, Enhanced Small Arms Protective Insert plates, body armor, and various other Soldier necessities for the force.
Once in D.C., they established a CIF distribution station in the parking lot of the D.C. Guard Armory. From there they provided Virginia National Guard personnel with more than 4,000 items of cold weather clothing, more than 800 pairs of protective eye-wear and several hundred pair of gloves.
“The rough dollar value of equipment of Virginia-owned OCIE [Organizational Clothing and Individual Equipment] issued over the last several weeks to sustain operations was approximately $350,000,” explained Capt. Matthew Engel, officer in charge of the CIF rear detachment.
The CIF/SSA team’s mission in D.C. soon expanded and included acquiring $12,000 worth of extra clothing from the National Guard Bureau in Alexandria. They also obtained additional eSAPI plates and distributed them to Soldiers on the ground.
Anticipating shortfalls, the rear detachment assembled extra Improved Outer Tactical Vest and Outer Tactical Vest body armor and Kevlar helmets to send to D.C. The mobile CIF/SSA team made multiple trips to and from the CIF warehouse in Richmond and kept in constant communication with the “rear detachment,” who assembled OCIE orders, made emergency requisitions and input more than 800 documents generated from this mission.
The CIF/SSA team then began preparing for the return of the hundreds of eSAPI plates, laser-protective eyewear and other gear that was hand receipted to the supply personnel of nearly every unit in Virginia.
“While challenged to supply such a large force in such a short timeframe, the Virginia CIF/SSA came through, exceeding expectations by showing once again their adaptability, responsiveness and improvisation," Engel said.
No shots were fired while in D.C., but Soldiers were prepared with ammunition thanks to the Ammunition Supply Point at Fort Pickett. The ASP is responsible for the issue, receipt, storage, inspection, and turn-in of all Ammunition & Explosives for the Virginia National Guard and other services, according to CW3 Nick Seymour, the state explosives safety officer and Fort Pickett ASP manager. Since Jan. 6, 2021, the ASP issued more than 750,000 rounds of various non-lethal and small arms in support of operational requirements.
“This was successful due to the efforts and hard work by the team members at the ASP that worked countless hours to ensure our part of the mission was successful,” Seymour said. “I have nothing but the greatest respect for the job the ASP team has done and the impeccable job the logistics community has accomplished in support of the Virginia National Guard and D.C. National Guard.”
The Gate City-based 1030th Transportation Battalion managed and executed daily logistics packages from Fort Pickett and Richmond up to Washington, D.C. According to Capt. John Terry of the 1030th, the battalion utilized a combination of tactical and non-tactical vehicles to accomplish their objectives, taking into account the safety of both their drivers and civilian traffic on the road.
For the logistics community, the mission was an opportunity use their skills and experience at home, in their community.
“I enjoy domestic missions because of the clear, tangible help we bring to our local community. As a logistician, that comes in everything we do, from transportation to hot meals for Soldiers,” Oberoi said. “The details and how it is done can make such a difference for our Soldiers in enabling them to do their best work possible.”
“I could not be more proud of the entire logistics enterprise in the Virginia Army National Guard,” said Col. Everton Nevers, the Virginia National Guard deputy chief of staff for logistics. “The efforts by the logistics team far exceeded expectations and the synchronization between the units and the Virginia Army National Guard logistics team was expertly coordinated. This was an example of the professionalism and knowledge inherent in our logisticians here in the Virginia Army National Guard. “