When U.S. service members headed to Thailand for the annual Exercise Cobra Gold in February, all their meals were already taken care of thanks to the efforts of Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support employees.
“For Cobra Gold 2014, 31 ocean containers with operational rations valued at over $1.1 million were shipped to Thailand in support of the exercise,” said Arden Ikehara, a DLA Troop Support Pacific logistics management specialist.
Items like meals, ready to eat, unitized group rations and ultra-high temperature milk were sent weeks in advance of the exercise, she said.
Andrew Pearson, DLA Troop Support Pacific contracting officer, also executed a $70,000 blanket purchase agreement to procure locally sourced fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as market-ready products like eggs and bread that served as enhancements to the rations, he said.
The coordination began months prior to the exercise and was a joint effort between DLA Troop Support employees and their colleagues at DLA Distribution in Tracy, Calif., and New Cumberland, Pa., said Deborah Sinno, a DLA Troop Support Subsistence inventory management specialist.
“We have personnel who attend the preplanning conference and try to get the services to gather their requirements in a timely manner to make the [required delivery dates] to the various locations in Thailand,” she said. “This requires real teamwork with the participating services, DLA Troop Support and DLA distribution centers.”
Two weeks before the exercise, Chris Holloman, a marketing and logistics specialist with the DLA Troop Support Pacific Japan area office, was in Thailand visiting delivery sites, ensuring customer satisfaction and helping unload container items.
“It is a worthwhile activity to witness firsthand how the rations significantly improve the meals that can be provided in remote areas,” he said. “Visiting the warfighters in the environment in which they consume the products is the single best way I know to promote the DLA Troop Support brand.”
Cobra Gold is an annual multinational exercise sponsored by the U.S. and Thailand to promote interoperability and training amongst participating nations. Forces from Singapore, Japan, Indonesia, Republic of Korea and Malaysia also participated.
Soldiers serve the first hot meal of the day Feb. 7 in Phitsanulok province, Thailand, during Exercise Cobra Gold. DLA Troop Support ensured more than $1.1 million of operational rations were delivered to Thailand in support of the exercise. Photo by Army Sgt. Daniel Kyle Johnson