Waldorf firm helping U.S. troops in Iraq
BY JAY FRIESS
Last year, Militec, the Waldorf manufacturer of a gun oil favored by U.S. troops stationed in desert combat zones, was embroiled in a struggle with Army scientists to get its product distributed to troops in the field through the military's official supply system.
What a difference a year can make.
|For his company's donations to the war effort, Russell Logan, right, vice president of Waldorf-based Militec, recently received a hand-delivered award from Tom McKeon, president of the Army's 720th Military Police Battalion's reunion association.||
The company is now selling its product to the military in bulk and recently received two awards - one from the military's supply acquisition and distribution arm and one from a military police brigade stationed in Texas - for its service.
Last month, Militec accepted a Gold Medal award from the Defense Logistics Agency certifying the military's 100 percent satisfaction with the company's service in filling orders for its gun oil.
The award is determined by the DLA's Automated Best Value System, which scores companies' supply performances. Only scores of 100 merit a gold medal, while scores of 99 to 99.9 earn a silver and scores of 98 to 98.9 earn a bronze.
As prestigious as the award is, it didn't pack quite as much personal meaning for the company as the one from the Army's 720th Military Police Battalion based in Fort Hood, Texas, which was hand-delivered last week to the company's Pika Drive office by Tom McKeon, president of the battalion's reunion association.
McKeon said he first learned of Militec when he was rounding up supply donations for the 720th as it shipped out to Iraq for Operation Iraqi Freedom. The reunion association approached several companies on behalf of the battalion, asking Wal-Mart for a supply of feminine hygiene products and Militec for gun oil.
"I said, 'What do you need'" remembered Russell Logan, vice president of Militec.
McKeon told Logan that 1,000 troops of 720th on the ground in Baghdad each needed a bottle of Militec, since the Army's standard issue CLP gun oil was reportedly attracting grit and sand to the sensitive mechanisms of U.S. troops' assault rifles, causing them to jam and misfire. Militec, a so-called "dry formula" gun oil, works by filling the microscopic pores in a gun's metallic parts, leaving them slick, yet dry to the touch.
At the time, the Army was refusing to allow the DLA to buy and distribute Militec for troops in the field, since its labs had determined that Militec does not protect guns against rust.
However, in the arid, dusty streets of Baghdad, soldiers told McKeon that they had more to fear from weapons malfunctioning than their guns rusting. Logan decided to send the MPs his oil for free.
"Company policy," Logan said. "No one goes without."
Members of the 720th carried their Militec bottles into battle in both Baghdad, Fallujah and finally home again this year. The battalion lost three soldiers and earned 23 Purple Heart medals, but, McKeon said, it had no weapon failures.
A Vietnam veteran, McKeon remembers the importance of having a gun that will always shoot in battle.
"We test-fired our guns every day," he said of his Vietnam experience. According to him, the 720th was able to have far more confidence in its Militec-treated weapons . He humorously compared the soldiers' confidence to "knowing you have a Die Hard battery in your car."
The 720th is in the process of shipping back to Iraq, but, this time, the troops will be able to order Militec through the DLA. The Army changed its policy on the product after several media reports exposed the shortcomings of CLP and an Army Lessons Learned report endorsed Militec.
"We've" overcome a lot of that now," Logan said of the bureaucratic struggle to get his product approved. The troops are being supplied. DLA is buying from us in bulk."
Still it is taking some time for the policy change to filter down to the troops' level. Some soldiers are still having trouble obtaining the gun oil. So, Logan and his business partner, president Brad Giordani, continue to exercise their goodwill policy. To date, they say they have shipped 35,000 free bottles of Militec to soldiers overseas.
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