By Cheryl Phillips
| 88th Readiness Division | Nov. 13, 2019
Bryan Witherow guides Jennifer Rippa as she operates a Kalmar Rough Terrain Container Handler, or RTCH, at the NEFF yard. (U.S. Army photo by Cheryl Phillips) (Photo by Cheryl Phillips)
James Garbett guides forklift driver Nathan Egge as he moves a pallet of equipment in the NEFF warehouse. (U.S. Army photo by Cheryl Phillips) (Photo by Cheryl Phillips)
James Garbett works with Jennifer Rippa to inventory new weapons. (U.S. Army photo by Cheryl Phillips) (Photo by Cheryl Phillips)
A possibly little-known 88th Readiness Division asset helps units achieve readiness by ensuring Soldiers receive new equipment and weapons and that they know how to operate that different equipment.
The New Equipment Fielding Facility – or NEFF – here receives new equipment, facilitates training, prepares vehicles for installation of weapons platforms and facilitates the hand off of the equipment to Army Reserve units. The 88th RD also operates a NEFF at Ogden, Utah.
Bryan Witherow, 88th RD NEFF Equipment Transition Site Manager, explains the role of the NEFF in supporting units.
The NEFF is used to “receive, process, store, train, transfer and ship equipment to the gaining units or their identified permanent storage facility,” Witherow said. “It is capable of completing all actions for the Total Package Fielding of an item or system.”
The NEFF at Fort McCoy handles 43,000 pieces of equipment annually, from radio components to vehicles and weapons.
The 88th RD currently services a 24-state region, including three states located in the 63rd RD footprint. “This encompasses more than 1,300 units directly supported over the last six years.” Witherow said.
All this is thanks to the efforts of the NEFF workforce. Along with Witherow, a Supply Management Specialist handles the property book, a Motor Vehicle Operator handles warehouse operations, and a Supply Technician tracks equipment and helps with activities in the warehouse.
Besides contributing to unit readiness, the NEFF saves the Army Reserve money. “We are good stewards of taxpayer dollars, saving $6 million a year,” Witherow said. Because of the consolidated training, it takes less time for the equipment to get into the hands of the warfighter. There are reduced shipping costs since the manufacturer ships equipment to the NEFF where it’s consolidated and shipped in bulk to units. Also, the equipment is consolidated immediately, reducing the risk of loss.
Plans are underway to expand the NEFF’s capabilities as the Army Reserve fleet is modernized. For example, driver vision enhancement for up-armored vehicles, weapons upgrades and installation of the CROW (Common Remotely Operated Weapon) system are just a few examples of how the NEFF is offering enhanced services.
The effects of these efforts do not go unnoticed by the 88th RD, Fort McCoy or the Army Reserve, who work together to ensure our Soldiers and units have the tools and skills they need for readiness, today and in the future. Cost savings, behind the scenes consolidation of efforts and resources, and long-term logistics strategies may go unnoticed by Soldiers, but they are vital for enduring continued readiness.