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Desert Depot: Equipping and supplying the fight

Senior Airman Kerby Witman, 380th ELRS customer service technician (front), and Airman 1st Class Michelle Gutierrez, 380th ELRS customer service technician, perform a uniform inspection inside of Desert Depot at Al Dhafra Air Base, United Arab Emirates, Feb. 11, 2019.

Senior Airman Kerby Witman, 380th ELRS customer service technician (front), and Airman 1st Class Michelle Gutierrez, 380th ELRS customer service technician, perform a uniform inspection inside of Desert Depot at Al Dhafra Air Base, United Arab Emirates, Feb. 11, 2019. Desert Depot's mission is to provide exceptional customer support and to ensure organizations at Al Udeid AB have the necessary supplies to effectively and efficiently perform their mission. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Darnell T. Cannady)

Tech. Sgt. Caresia Baldwin, 380th Expeditionary Staff Sgt. Karl Santos, 380th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron IPE supervisor, uses a forklift to reorganize containers in the equipment accountability office at Al Dhafra Air Base, United Arab Emirates, Feb. 11, 2019.

Staff Sgt. Karl Santos, 380th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron individual protective equipment supervisor, uses a forklift to reorganize containers in the equipment accountability office at Al Dhafra Air Base, United Arab Emirates, Feb. 11, 2019. Desert Depot manages four warehouses with 2,115 line items valued at $1.69 million. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Darnell T. Cannady)

Staff Sgt. Tanner Collins, 380th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron inventory NCOIC, and Staff Sgt. Cody Sharkey, 380th ELRS hazardous materials section chief, store compressed cylinders at Al Dhafra Air Base, United Arab Emirates, Feb. 11, 2019.

Staff Sgt. Tanner Collins, 380th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron inventory noncommissioned officer in charge, and Staff Sgt. Cody Sharkey, 380th ELRS hazardous materials section chief, store compressed cylinders at Al Dhafra Air Base, United Arab Emirates, Feb. 11, 2019. The Hazardous Materials section deals with all of the hazardous materials for customers throughout the base to include compressed gas cylinders, hydraulic and lubricating oils, paints and other chemicals used to support and generate aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Darnell T. Cannady)

Tech. Sgt. Caresia Baldwin, 380th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron Individual Protective Equipment Section Chief, and Staff Sgt. Juan Nunez, 380th ELRS IPE supervisor, perform a weapons inventory inside the equipment accountability office at Al Dhafra Air Base, United Arab Emirates, Feb. 11, 2019.

Tech. Sgt. Caresia Baldwin, 380th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron Individual Protective Equipment Section Chief, and Staff Sgt. Juan Nunez, 380th ELRS individual protective equipment supervisor, perform a weapons inventory inside the equipment accountability office at Al Dhafra Air Base, United Arab Emirates, Feb. 11, 2019. The equipment accountability office maintains and provides chemical warfare gear and weapons to base personnel in case of an attack and for daily mission activities. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Darnell T. Cannady)

Senior Airman Minkyu Park, 380th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron customer service technician, checks the ordering number while issuing supplies at Al Dhafra Air Base, United Arab Emirates, Feb. 11, 2019.

Senior Airman Minkyu Park, 380th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron customer service technician, checks the ordering number while issuing supplies at Al Dhafra Air Base, United Arab Emirates, Feb. 11, 2019. The customer service section deals with customer orders at the base supply store, manages supply system processes and monitors supply transactions. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Darnell T. Cannady)

AL DHAFRA AIR BASE, United Arab Emirates (AFNS) -- Within the 380th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron there is a shop that stores and issues mission essential items. From batteries to aircraft parts, the Desert Depot provides them to the warfighters at Al Dhafra Air Base, United Arab Emirates.

Desert Depot's mission is to provide exceptional customer support and to ensure that organizations at ADAB have the necessary supplies to effectively and efficiently perform their mission.

“Desert Depot is the focal point for the management and control chief of supply assets,” said Tech. Sgt. Maxima Young, 380th ELRS Desert Depot noncommissioned officer in charge. “We are the first touchpoint from higher levels to include regular day-to-day office supply items, aircraft spares and equipment assets.”

Desert Depot manages four warehouses with 2,115 line items valued at $1.69 million. To successfully manage this, there are several sections within Desert Depot working hand in hand to complete this mission.

Inside the main office, the customer service section deals with customer orders at the base supply store, manages supply system processes and monitors supply transactions. Their inventory section accounts for all property within the supply warehouses on a base-wide level, to include the base supply store, aircraft and hazmat warehouses; making sure that there is complete oversight of chief of supply assets to support their customer requirements. Document control provides supply support oversight ensuring that supply transaction documents are processed, filed and maintained to ensure visibility and accountability of Air Force assets.

“Desert Depot ensures fast-moving and mission-impact items are readily available and on the shelves to minimize customer wait time,” Young said. “This exponentially cuts down on back-order requests, which can at times take up to three to nine days average to receive.”

“On a daily basis, I take accountability of all the parts that are here,” said Airman 1st Class Michelle Gutierrez, 380th ELRS customer service technician. “There are certain things that the customers need and we issue them out while taking inventory of each and every part that we have.”

Inside another warehouse is the Equipment Accountability Office which is the focal point for all equipment accounts on base and geographically separated units. They maintain and provide chemical warfare gear and weapons to base personnel in case of an attack and for daily mission activities.

“Accountability and accuracy is the most important aspect of our job,” said Tech. Sgt. Caresia Baldwin, 380th ELRS individual protective equipment section chief. “We have to maintain assets that have shelf-life dates and continuously make sure that they're issuable to our Airmen to use when needed. We do our job proudly knowing that so many Airmen are depending on us to keep them safe in case of a situation where we would need to issue out protective gear.”

The Hazardous Materials section deals with all of the hazardous materials for customers throughout the base to include compressed gas cylinders, hydraulic and lubricating oils, paints and other chemicals used to support and generate aircraft.

“The best part of the job is interacting with and getting to know our customers at a variety of levels,” Young said. “Whether we are issuing uniforms to our members, delivering oxygen to aircraft life support systems or accounting for valuable day to day Air Force assets... Ultimately supporting and impacting our warfighting mission.”

All these sections work together to make it possible to provide every organization what it needs when they need it.

“There are many supply functions that are performed by Desert Depot that allow the Air Force supply system to run efficiently,” Young added. “The team aggressively works their assigned programs to maintain the accountability and integrity of the supply system. They make sure that the system reflects correct balances, allowing for on time replenishment of base stock which ultimately keeps assets on-hand for our customers.”

Regardless of what’s issued, these Airmen take pride in maintaining the supplies and equipment necessary to support the warfighters performing their missions and returning home.

“The favorite part about my job is that we are the frontline to providing Airmen tactical gear to withstand chemical attacks,” Baldwin said. “I am a huge family individual. It doesn't matter who you are, or where you are from, we're a big Air Force family and we always have to look out for each other. It warms my heart knowing that we're providing all base personnel with the needed equipment to safely execute the mission and return back home safely to their respective families.”

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