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Cargo vessel arrives in West Africa with supplies, equipment for Defense Logistics Agency mission

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Friday, October 31, 2014

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The MV Vega, a commercial cargo vessel chartered by the Defense Logistics Agency, arrived in Liberia Oct. 25 to deliver critical supplies to support Operation United Assistance, the U.S. government's effort to fight Ebola in West Africa.

The vessel, which was loaded at the Port of Rotterdam in the Netherlands, is bringing food, water, construction materials, generators, fuel tanks, and housing and support facilities for U.S. service members deployed for Operation United Assistance.

"The Vega is serving as a tremendous key enabler for the operation in Africa," said Air Force Col. Robert Hoff, chief of the DLA-U.S. Transportation Command team in DLA Logistics Operations.

The Vega is transporting 690 containers, more than 95 percent of which will be offloaded in Buchanan, Liberia, before the ship travels to Dakar, Senegal, to offload the rest of the supplies, Hoff said. The containers hold meals, ready to eat, bottled water, medical protective equipment, generators, lumber, fuel tanks, rough terrain cargo handlers, and Army force provider sets, which contain housing and support facilities for service members deployed to the region. 

DLA's use of the Vega is unique, because the agency does not usually charter commercial vessels to transport its supplies and equipment, said Joanne Battaglia, a procurement analyst in DLA Acquisition who is the contracting officer for the Vega acquisition. In this case, DLA moved quickly to anticipate support requirements in Africa and needed to transport critical supplies for its mission, working with U.S. Transportation Command and Military Sealift Command to get those supplies where they were needed, she said.

In anticipation of the requirements to support Operation United Assistance, DLA had already begun collecting materials at Defense Distribution Depot Europe in Germersheim, Germany, Hoff said. Agency leaders knew they would be called on to provide disaster relief supplies and equipment, he said, and they also knew they would need specific equipment to conduct the agency's operations and remain flexible on the ground.

"We know our product lines and our classes of supply," he said. "So when President Barack Obama says we're moving Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines to the theater, we know what they're going to need."

As DLA consolidated its supplies and equipment, agency leaders were in close collaboration with U.S. Africa Command leaders about their needs, Hoff said. As the ship was moving to Germany to pick up DLA material, the military leaders notified DLA that they needed force provider sets moved to Africa to support the incoming service members, so DLA finalized arrangements while those sets were moved to port and loaded, he said.

Preparing and loading the Vega was a "Herculean effort" that involved teamwork between DLA Headquarters, DLA Distribution, DLA Troop Support, USTRANSCOM, the Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command, the contractor and other key players, Hoff said. The ship left Rotterdam Oct. 15.

"This was definitely out-of-the-box thinking," Hoff said. "It was the ultimate team effort across the entire enterprise to get this ship chartered and loaded, and it will be a critical enabler to our mission down there."

As a Department of Defense combat support agency, DLA provides the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, other federal agencies, and joint and allied forces with a variety of logistics, acquisition and technical services. The agency sources and provides nearly 100 percent of the consumable items America's military forces need to operate, from food, fuel and energy, to uniforms, medical supplies, and construction and barrier equipment. DLA also supplies more than 85 percent of the military's spare parts.

Headquartered at Fort Belvoir, Va., DLA has about 25,000 employees worldwide and supports more than 2,440 weapon systems. For more information about DLA, go to www.dla.mil, www.facebook.com/dla.mil or http://twitter.com/dlamil.

 

Contact:

Tonya Johnson

Tel: 703-767-6310

LaTonya.Johnson@dla.mil

 

Source: Defense Logistics Agency
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1.4 from 5 votes
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