Less than 24 hours after the Federal Emergency Management Agency assignment dropped, the Defense Logistics Agency Distribution’s Expeditionary Team advance team crew was on the road to Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Alabama, arriving before daybreak Sept. 25. Additional DLA Distribution’s deployable teams, DDXX as they are called, from San Joaquin, California, arrived the next day to set up a FEMA federal incident support base in preparation for Hurricane Ian’s landfall.
“The DDXX San Joaquin team never disappoints. I’m always impressed by their work ethic and can-do attitude. When FEMA’s mission assignments drop, they drop everything at a moment’s notice to do what they do best — receive and issue supplies to support storm victims,” Army Lt. Col. Ed Strzalkowski, DDXX commander, said.
Over the next two weeks, including a week of 24/7 operations, approximately 30 DDXX teammates processed more than 800 trailers filled with more than 13 million items, including water, meals, plastic sheeting, tarps, cots, blankets, hygiene kits and other FEMA-requested supplies. The team also processed and staged trailers by commodity, then prepared outbound shipments destined for Florida areas hardest hit by Hurricane Ian.
For more than 15 of DLA Distribution’s 25 years, DDXX has worked with FEMA, U.S. Northern Command and state and local officials to support federal disaster response. DLA’s support began with Hurricane Katrina in 2005, when FEMA recognized DLA’s unique capability for procuring and delivering large-scale commodities, an effective tool in disaster relief efforts. FEMA and DLA subsequently signed a formal agreement designating DLA as a source for various supplies and services, including a deployable depot to manage and operate FEMA incident support bases. The agreement gives DLA the flexibility to pre-position material before storms make landfall to ensure rapid movement of critical supplies.
The DDXX teams, located at both DLA Distribution San Joaquin, California, and DLA Distribution Susquehanna, Pennsylvania, remain on standby to support humanitarian aid and military contingencies. DDXX has the unique ability to deploy on short notice into austere environments, while providing resources which are not readily available in other federal agencies or the private sector.