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Can’t fly without supply

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Derrick Bole
  • 379th Air Expeditionary Wing

Airmen from the 379th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron run the busiest Expeditionary Theater Distribution Center in the Air Force.


They ensure forward-deploying service members are equipped with properly fitting body armor, mission-oriented protective posture (MOPP) gear, and chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) protective items before continuing their journey.


CBRN and MOPP gear are worn ​​to block and filter harmful chemicals and biological agents, as well as irradiated particles from the wearer. Both sets of equipment ensure the safety of service members in the event of a CBRN hazard or attack on the installation. The 379th ELRS EDTC provides essential support and protection to every service member, DoD civilian, and contractor on the installation.


“We have the largest warehouse in CENTCOM,” said the ETDC noncommissioned officer in charge. “There are thousands of pieces of gear we can issue here, which are issued to service members and DoD civilians as well. Our job is not only to issue this equipment but to manage and inventory it as well.”


The facility is constantly inventorying equipment because they continually accept and issue gear. Between new arrivals to the installation to forward deployers and redeployers, the total inventory never stays the same, keeping them busy daily in direct support of the mission.


“It’s part of our daily job to count and inspect every piece of equipment to ensure its efficiency in the field,” said the ETDC NCOIC. “If we don’t make sure that this equipment is good to go at all times, it could mean disaster to anyone wearing it. That’s why we have to remain vigilant here.”


Being the largest warehouse in the AOR, the 379th ELRS frequently loans out excess or expired equipment.


“While most of the expired equipment needs to be disposed of, some of it can be used to provide a hands-on training experience in a forward-deployed scenario,” said a materiel management specialist.


ETDC Airmen maintain the slogan “Can’t fly without Supply” due to their key position in keeping forward-deployed service members fully equipped for the next fight.