ARNOLD AIR FORCE BASE, Tenn. --
Sustaining operations at Arnold Air Force Base, headquarters for the Arnold Engineering Development Complex, even in a reduced capacity while in an “operationally urgent” posture due to the coronavirus, requires both people and the materials they require to carry out their jobs.
The Base Warehouse ensures those materials are received on Base and available for delivery to the workforce.
When the base posture changed April 6, the Warehouse reduced staffing in accordance with that directive, but to a level still allowing support of all the testing that was required to continue, base operations and other critical activities.
This required coordination with partners off base to slow the flow of goods.
“We notified all vendors, carriers and subcontractors of the change in base posture,” said Mike Ramsey, AEDC Test Operations and Sustainment Acquisitions Branch manager. “We asked them to hold non-critical orders and work and suspended other work.”
Ramsey noted this effort has been assisted by the other areas on base.
"All the areas out here working have been really good about identifying those shipments that are really needed and understanding that we are on limited-scope operations,” Ramsey said.
Even with reducing the incoming deliveries, the tempo for those remaining on the job has increased.
Some carriers are hauling mixed shipments of critical and non-critical items, and both are accepted when such a shipment arrives.
“While this adds to the workload on the reduced staff, we do want to keep suppliers paid and working,” Ramsey said. “We want to have materials available when we do return to normal operations.”
The health and safety of Warehouse employees continues to be a priority, with added measures to mitigate the risk the coronavirus poses.
A new Job Safety Analysis was written specifically for handling critical shipments being delivered by carriers from identified “hotspots.”
The Warehouse has been able to maintain the 6 feet of distance between people. Hand sanitizer and wipes, though in high demand, has been provided.
“We received some hand sanitizer from local distilleries and Bechtel (parent company of TOS contractor, National Aerospace Solutions) provided some,” Ramsey said.
A focus area for those supplies is the receiving area, where employees are off loading supplies and may have interactions with carriers. The Warehouse has also been distributing it to other areas on base.
Overall, Ramsey was satisfied.
“I think it’s going well. The pace is of course fast, but we are able to manage it,” Ramsey said. "I think they (the Warehouse team) feel good about being able to continue to support the essential testing.”