The GSA on-the-ground logistics team sacrifices time at home and put their lives on the line to deliver on the agency’s commitment to support our troops overseas. I am one of the several GSA employees from the Greater Southwest Region that have been deployed to Afghanistan and Kuwait to provide our nation’s servicemen and women the equipment they need to carry out their missions. Along with Denise Robinson, Contracting Officer; and Sheila Patterson,Chief, Customer Assistance Branch, I have returned to my job with a new appreciation for our troops and this unique opportunity to personally serve our customers.
As Liaison Officers, we serve as the go-between for GSA and US Forces located in Afghanistan and other locations in the middle east. Robinson and and I were with US military in Kabul, while Patterson served in other locations in Afghanistan. Some have even served more than one tour of duty. Customer Service Director, Joey Phelps, is currently in Kuwait working with our troops. Being co-located with customers allows us to provide customized service to better support our deployed servicemen and women.
We performed many duties during deployment and participated in strategic coordination at all levels of management regarding the Central Asia Sourcing Initiative and other Central Office initiatives. We also served as GSA’s eyes and ears and as a direct channel of communication with GSA Central Office and the Acquisition Centers to ensure GSA was well informed of issues that could impact any logistical support to the warfighters.
We worked seven days a week, 12 hours a day. We lived in tents for temporary periods of periods of time and some on a permanent basis throughout the deployment. We persevered through cold, hot, and windy conditions.
Despite the challenges, we gained valuable on-the-ground experience, and were able to deliver services directly to some of our most important customers — our troops.