Despite working from an office 6,800 miles away, Rodney Farrell has become a vital member of a task force in Afghanistan charged with keeping warfighters safe from electrical hazards.
Farrell is an acquisition specialist with Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support’s construction and equipment supply chain.
He’s also the point man for providing all the electrical materials Task Force Power used to repair 2.7 million electrical safety hazards throughout Afghanistan in 2013, said Chris Erickson, a logistics manager with the task force.
Farrell’s support and electrical knowledge is invaluable to TF Power’s mission, in which 74 two-person electrician teams mitigate and repair electrical hazards at U.S. military facilities throughout Afghanistan, Erickson said.
Farrell provides materials through the supply chain’s Maintenance, Repair and Operations program, a tailored logistics support program for facilities maintenance, public works, civil engineering, base housing and supply customers around the world.
When the power went out in several Army buildings in Afghanistan, Erickson said his team couldn’t find the transfer switch fuses needed to restore the power anywhere in country. He immediately contacted Farrell, who arranged for the fuses to be delivered to Bagram Airfield in six days, as opposed to the standard delivery time of three months.
“I want to treat their orders with the same urgency they have,” Farrell said.
Farrell has worked with TF Power since starting with DLA Troop Support four years ago. He said he’s developed some strong relationships with the task force’s personnel and doesn’t just think of them as a customer.
“It’s not just treating the customer as a customer, but as your brother or your neighbor,” Farrell said. “You have to think about what sort of support you’d want to have in their situation.”
He combines that commitment with industry knowledge gained from 15 years of commercial construction work prior to joining DLA Troop Support through the intern program.
Licensed as a general contractor, plumber and electrician, Farrell said he knows “our products inside and out.”
TF Power recently flew an American flag in Afghanistan to recognize Farrell. They presented the flag to him along with task force uniform patches for members of Farrell’s team.
“Rodney goes above and beyond for TFP,” Erickson said in an email. “He truly is our sole source of millions of dollars in electrical materials dedicated to protecting the warfighter from electrical hazards and injury.
“I have been an Air Force civilian for 12 years, deployed multiple times and have never received the level of support and dedication Mr. Farrell delivers,” Erickson said. “He is the man behind the scenes that is largely responsible for our success in protecting our warfighters.”
Air Force Master Sgt. Court Sartain, an electrical inspector with Task Force Power, conducts an electrical safety check at Combat Outpost Senjeray, Afghanistan, in 2011. DLA Troop Support acquisition specialist Rodney Farrell has been supporting TF Power through the construction and equipment supply chain’s Maintenance, Repair and Operations program for four years. Photo by Army Spc. Crystal Madri