Although the noise from fighter jets and other aircraft continues throughout the night at Bagram Airfield, members of the Transatlantic Division’s Afghanistan District must still find a way to get a good night’s sleep. A restful slumber isn’t always easy to come by in a forward-deployed, austere environment, but because of the quick thinking of Logistics Specialist Tina Byrd, the Afghanistan District team now slumbers on new mattresses; more than 200 new mattresses to be exact.
While doing a normal Supply Support Activity (SSA) run on Bagram AF, Byrd overheard that brand-new, but excess, bedding was available and it needed to be moved quickly. Knowing the district’s lodging facilities was due for a mattress life-cycle replacement in Fiscal Years 20 and 21, Byrd took action and procured the excess mattresses for the district. Using her logistics expertise, she also coordinated their delivery to District locations at Kandahar and Bagram.
“With quick thinking, Tina just saved us over $200,000 on the FY20&21 budgets,” said District Commander Col. John Becking, who lauded Byrd during a recent award ceremony where she was presented the Department of the Army Civilian Service Achievement Medal.
Becking said Byrd earned the award both for her work supporting Operation Freedom’s Sentinel since arriving in Afghanistan in October 2018 and “for going above and beyond the scope of her duties to establish an effective and sustainable requisitioning process for the district.”
Byrd said her discovery of the excess mattresses was serendipitous. She was returning some items at SSA and saw a flatbed truck loaded with them and decided to ask if she could procure a few for district personnel. “I went to the SSA the next day for some other reasons and asked one of the employee about the mattresses and he asked how many we needed. I came straight back with a count of 220 and the Lord answered my prayers and blessed us all with this earlier Christmas gift,” she said.
Although she appreciates the award and the recognition for her work in Afghanistan, Byrd said being deployed is just geography. “I’m on the LPRT (Logistics Planning Respond Team) and Logistics Planning Emergency Team (for overseas) back in my home district of Philadelphia. When I get a phone call to deploy – whether it’s stateside or overseas – my bags are ready. My passion is to support the mission. I’m a people person, a team player, but mostly I love helping others,” she said.