Passing on the knowledge at Redstone Arsenal

REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. — From the wars of history to the wars of modern times, somebody has to make sure the people who fight get the supplies they need to do their job. It’s called logistics support. “50-years ago we were using pencils and now we’re using computers,” said Al Fisher who has been in the logistics business for more than 50 years.

Many of Fisher’s colleagues at LOGSA, the Army’s Logistics Support Activity, have been on the job for just a few years. Al is passing his legacy knowledge to the younger workers. “You just can’t put a price value on a 30 or 40-year employee’s experience. Particularly in Army logistics operations,” said Col. John Kuenzli, the Commander of LOGSA.

With all the modern technology at hand, younger logistics workers, who are computer savvy, might not think they need to know what the veterans know. “I come from a generation where you’re used to doing everything fast and so for someone to say, hey, you’ve got to kind of understand why we do this. I say no, I just click and go,” said Endea Spears, who has been on the job at LOGSA for just two and a half years.

Admittedly the new ways of doing things are faster and probably more accurate, but young logisticians need experience, and without an experienced mentor to help, it can take a while. “Yeah if they worked at it about 10 or 15 years, but we don’t have that time to train the new folks for 15-years, to bring them up to speed,” said Fisher.

Fisher is one of the veteran workers who is passing on his hard-earned knowledge to younger staff like Endea. She understands the value. “It’s very important for anyone in any capacity to understand why you’re doing something in order to effectively get the job done,” said Spears.

Getting the job done is really what it’s all about. That was true 50 years ago, and it’s true now. “The ultimate goal is the same, to support the warfighter and ensure the warfighter has their equipment, their needs filled while they’re in the field,” said Fisher.

At LOGSA about a third of the workforce is retirement eligible. The goal is to make sure that all those workers pass along their extensive knowledge and that none of that experience is lost.