Behind the Scenes: A Supply NCO Shares His Experiences and Insights

10/28/2021  |  Staff Sgt. Shuai Tang Supply Non-Commissioned Officer, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 104th Training Division (Leader Training)
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Outside our 92Y ALC classroom at Ft. Knox. Standing to my right is Sgt. 1st Class Ho Nguyen, primary instructor and to my left Sgt. Feliz Vinluan, class leader.

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. — Are you a soldier who is in the supply field? I would like to share a little bit about myself and recent supply school experience with you.

I have been in the military for seven years as a 92Y (unit supply specialist). I started as a 92Y because I understood that the Army wasn’t going anywhere without supply. This is culture shock coming from active duty to the Army Reserve. The way we conduct inventories are different.

When on active duty, every soldier and every piece of equipment is present at all times, which makes it easier to conduct physical inventory of equipment. However, in the Army Reserve, neither personnel nor equipment is present at all times, which makes it harder for inventory, especially for a unit like ours. Most Soldiers are assigned a laptop that they could take home with them. If they are conducting rescheduled training for a battle assembly weekend when we are conducting inventory, it will take longer to complete the inventor—to say the least.

I attended the required professional military education three-week 92Y Advanced Leader Course at Fort Knox, Ky., this past summer. It was a mandatory in-person training that had 25 students in the class, 10 of whom were in the Army Reserve, and 15 in the Army National Guard; nine were E-6s and 16 of us were E-5s (I’ve since been promoted).

We had two instructors—both military; one Army Reserve Sgt. 1st Class as the primary instructor, and the other a staff sergeant who was in the Active Guard and Reserve program. We also had a contractor present as a consultant for the Global Combat Support System-Army portion of instruction, a site manager sergeant first class (AGR), and a course manager sergeant first class (AGR) on site.

We went every day, reporting to the classroom at 0830, starting at 0900 and usually released around 1600 hours. We were required to pair up in teams, taking turns presenting short briefings on dignity and respect (topic of the cycle) each morning before class. We wrote a 6-8 page argumentative essay too. Days were shorter the last week of instruction and no one complained.

Vaccinated students did not have to wear their masks but could wear them if preferred. If they chose not to wear their masks, they had to have proof of vaccination on them at all times and also submit their proof of vaccination to be included in their student files. Unvaccinated students were required to wear masks if they were inside and could not maintain six feet of distance.

My husband Qiang Wang pins on Staff Sergeant rank.

The previous cycle left us some snacks and drinks and also funds for us to purchase more. We continued the tradition and donated for the next cycle of students. By the time the 21 days were up, we had a table full of snacks and drinks.

During the training I listened closely to other students asking questions and sharing experiences about their supply career inside and outside of the Army. It was very enlightening to hear about other supply sergeants’ experiences from a variety of units across all three components.

The most difficult part of this military occupational specialty and my suggestion for new supply specialists is to pay attention to details. There is so much paperwork associated with property accountability. Just like you don’t want to mess up someone’s payroll or finance documents, you want to make sure that all of the property accountability paperwork is accurate and up to date too.

The day I wrote this, I pinned on my staff sergeant rank. I stay in the military because I enjoy this type of work and we are always busy.

 

 

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