First in, last out for logistics task force supporting Balikatan 2011|
By Maj. Shea A. Asis
That adage is true for servicemembers with Logistics Task Force, Triad Division, whose job has included managing service contracts, movement control and reception center services for all participants of Balikatan 2011.
"This (task force) is the nuts and bolts of all the operations that are out here logistically," Maj. Timothy Haylett, Triad Division chief. Haylett is operations officer for the 505th Quartermaster Battalion, 10th Support Group, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, stationed in Okinawa, Japan.
The logistics task force set up operations in early February to start the necessary contracts needed to get the life support in place by the time the exercise participants arrived in April. Those contracts made it possible to conduct Balikatan 2011 from six different locations across the northern region of the Philippines.
"So far we have over 500 contracts worth over four million dollars, and we did that in just about 60 days," said Haylett.
Without these contacts, basic amenities like lodging, fuel, food and bottled water would not be available for the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines participating in the exercise. The success of the exercise, which ends April 15, literally relied on these services, said Haylett.
"When its all said and done, I think we had a successful Balikatan 11," said Maj. Michael McCurty, chief of contracting, 413th Contracting Support Brigade, Fort Shafter, Hawaii. "It's been a great opportunity because of a lot of the people from last year and (those) here now, and we have been able to improve from the last exercise."
Although the Balikatan closing ceremony will mark the official completion of the bilateral training and humanitarian projects done by the U.S. and Armed Forces of the Philippines troops, work is far from over for the logistics group.
"Even after everyone leaves to go back to their respective home stations, the Triad Division will stay here for about another month in order to close out all of the contracts," said Haylett.
Since this is not the first time in the Philippines for most of the contracting team, they've also reaped the benefits of their earlier work. One of the most effective changes was the streamlining of the purchase request process, Haylett said. Instead of using several sources on one contract, they minimized mistakes and got a unity of effort by consolidating the purchase request with one contractor.
As Balikatan 2011 draws to a close, the service members of Logistics Task Force take pride in knowing they will continue working contracts until there no longer is a need for logistical support ... in other words, the last out.