JOHNSTON, Iowa — The military logistics business is not for the faint of heart. Supplies and equipment must be received, inventoried, stored, and issued under stringent rules of accountability.
Joint Forces Headquarters soldiers here can depend on senior supply sergeant Army Sgt. 1st Class Harold G. Tackett, 51, and supply sergeant Army Sgt. 1st Class Daniel Aguirre, 33.
Tackett, who hails from Runnells, Iowa, and Aguirre, who's from Altoona, Iowa, manage the daily logistical support for the Iowa National Guard's JFHQ, United States Property and Fiscal Office, Warehouse 12, Employer Support for the Guard and Reserve, Education Office, Identification Card Section, the U.S. Army Operation Support Airlift Command and 671st Troop Command.
Within JFHQ alone, they service nearly 300 soldiers, 54 percent of whom are officers. All told, this Camp Dodge duo is ultimately responsible for more than $21 million worth of equipment and supplies.
Recently, they were presented the regional Chief of Staff, Army, Supply Excellence Award, which recognizes supply excellence at the organizational level.
"It's validation that we're good at what we do," Tackett said. "We've won the regional competition, after going up against seven other states. Now we go on to the national level."
While recognition is always nice, the duo said their biggest impact is in servicing soldiers through the day-to-day operations of a fluid, functioning logistics system.
JFHQ received 93,000 items from the Defense Reutilization Management Office, worth approximately $840,000. Those items were then re-issued to units throughout the state, making a huge impact on spending, while putting the equipment to good use. They've scored 100 percent on their physical security inspections over the last two years, as well as on their Command Supply Discipline Program.
Organization is Key to Success
Organization is the key factor that's required in managing a successful supply operation, Tackett said.
"You have to be really, really organized in supply," he added. "If you're not organized you'll have nothing but chaos. You simply have to pay attention to detail on a daily basis."
Tackett's been involved with supply throughout his military career, beginning with his first active-duty Army assignment in Okinawa, Japan. After leaving the U.S. Army in 1992, he joined the Iowa Army National Guard.
A 22-year Iowa National Guard member, as well as serving in the active-duty Army for 11 years, Tackett said he's seen or done just about everything when it comes to supply.
"There are too many young supply sergeants today who have been suddenly thrust into new jobs and left to fend for themselves," Tackett said. "You have to mentor junior logisticians on how to do their job and how to do it proficiently. Once you get the basics down, it's easy."
One such soldier is Tackett's right-hand man. A 14-year Iowa National Guard veteran, Aguirre has been a member of the JFHQ supply team since July, when his position moved from the 671st Troop Command and was incorporated with JFHQ.
Aguirre joined the Iowa National Guard in 2001, during his senior year at Ankeny High School. He originally served as a supply technician with the 186th Military Police and then became a supply sergeant for the 671st Troop Command. He began looking into a full-time, Active Guard and Reserve position, so he reclassified into the Unit Supply Specialist career field.
In July, he volunteered to move to Joint Forces Headquarters to assist with supply issues.
"Sergeant Tackett knows everything there is to know about supply," Aguirre said. "Anything I can learn from him definitely helps me. He mentors me, he gives me advice, he answers any and all of my questions."
For these supply soldiers there's no such thing as a typical day at work. An automated property book problem may arise, just as easily as a supply, repair, protocol, or purchasing issue. They may have to prepare weapons and ammunition for the qualification range, while getting ready for the Iowa State Fair Military Day parade.
While having only two supply personnel servicing so many units can provide unique challenges, Tackett said he's confident that he and Aguirre are up to the task.
Taking Care of Customers
"Daniel can do everything I can do, from credit card purchases for local purchases, to dispatching out a vehicle," Tackett said. "I'm in charge ultimately and I oversee everything that comes in and out. Between the two of us, we provide a much better customer service."
According to Aguirre, the best part of the job is taking care of customers. He acknowledged his job can be challenging at times.
"It's pretty amazing how much stuff gets accomplished during the week in order to get ready for a drill weekend. You have to be really fluent in multi-tasking and in working under pressure," he said.
Coming to work is the easiest part of their day, Tackett added.
"It's what happens when you get here," he said with a laugh.