Equipment issue essential for Cadet survival

Reserve Officers' Training Corps Cadets are issued equipment at the Central Issue Facility at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. during the 2013 Leader Development and Assessment Course. Throughout the summer, the Cadets will use the equipment to survive in the field. U.S. Army photo by Cydney Grey McFarland.

Reserve Officers’ Training Corps Cadets are issued equipment at the Central Issue Facility at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. during the 2013 Leader Development and Assessment Course. Throughout the summer, the Cadets will use the equipment to survive in the field. U.S. Army photo by Cydney Grey McFarland.

When nearly 230 Reserve Officers’ Training Corps Cadets have to maneuver through a warehouse piled high with crates full of socks, canteens, helmets and other items to collect all the gear they will need for the next month at the Leader Development and Assessment Course, efficiency is king.

Before Cadets formed a line on June 15 that snaked up and down aisles of large plastic crates to retrieve their equipment, they stood outside the Central Issue Facility at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., where the outer wall stated “Service Is Our Business” above “Welcome to your friendly Central Issue Facility (CIF).” Their rucksacks hung empty from their shoulders in front of them as they munched on MREs and waited to go inside.

Positioning themselves in alphabetical order to save time when getting paperwork, Cadets heard a brief from 1st Lt. Ly Phan, Operation Warrior Forge CIF OIC. He instructed them to take all equipment, to speak loudly and not impede the process by crowding the aisles or not staying focused.

“We have a responsibility, and you need to pay attention to everything you’re doing,” said Phan.

Phan also told them when they took inventory of their gear at the end, anything they were mistaken about receiving and realized it after leaving the CIF,  Cadets would have to pay for the replacement.

Gray dust puffed around the Cadets’ feet as they shuffled single file toward the door, crunching gravel under their boots. When inside, the civilian workers gave Cadets ponchos, T-shirts, sleeping bags and other essentials for field training.

Cadet Kelsey McDonald, Alpha Co., 1st Reg., a 21-year-old from the University of South Florida, said although she was most looking forward to receiving her “woobie” or blanket all the items are important for LDAC.

“They’re essential,” said McDonald. “I mean, you can’t function in the field without them.”

Pahn said coming to CIF was crucial to the LDAC experience because Cadets cannot train without the proper equipment. His role in the process is to brief the two companies of Cadets¾about 500 in all¾and act as a liaison between the civilian workers and the military.

“Things get messed up if I brief the wrong information,” he said. “If I don’t do things correctly with the regiments, the civilian workers aren’t very happy.”

The equipment pick-up was scheduled to last until 3:30 p.m., but both companies were through the warehouse and had taken inventory on a concrete platform outside in front of the railroad tracks by about 2:30 p.m.

Cadet Ryan Oatman, 28, Alpha Co., 1st Reg., from California State University, Long Beach, said the equipment they will use is important in the present, but will also be important in the future.

“[The equipment] is going to allow us to do our job which right now is training in order to become the best United States Army warriors,” said Oatman. “The gear that we get here will allow me to support our troops and support our overall LDAC mission.”

Story by Monica Spees.

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