Sergeant supplies structure
By Sgt. Scott Raper, 149th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade Public Affairs Specialist
TAJI, Iraq— There’s a dry erase board hanging on a wall in an office of the 198th Military Police Battalion in Camp Taji, Iraq filled with daily to do’s. The color-coded list includes; ordering parts, ordering clothing for Soldiers, scheduling water drops, tracking inventories, it goes on and on. By lunchtime there are only a couple check marks on it. But such is the world of supply for a unit deployed overseas, and for the Supply NCO that must manage it.
Sgt. Natasha Southard is in charge of that list. The check marks are hers.
“I like to know that I have completed tasks that I set for myself,” she said. “It’s the knowing that you have completed something and getting something done that’s a big help.”
Southard said she completes most of her tasks everyday, but knows the board will be filled again the next morning. Her days range from 12 to 16 hours, but they have to in order to account for equipment that is scattered all over post. She feels she is the commander’s right hand Soldier because it takes a serious trust to take responsibility for the amount of property and its value a unit must possess. It is all worth it to her because she can ‘stay on top of it all’ and it is what gets her through the days while deployed.
“Work gets me through my day. I work sun-up to sun-down, and then some. I ‘m horribly OCD too, so for me, I have to stay organized. It’s good for me,” she said.
The Leitchfield, Ky. native was a M.P. for six years before going to school to become the Logistics NCO for the 198th as they prepared for deployment to Iraq. This is Southard’s first deployment and tried to keep an open mind heading overseas.
“I find it better to not have any expectations than to have them and be let down,” she said.
In addition to her daily duties, she finds time to play cards with other Soldiers, but misses home, her dog, Wilbur and most of all, her three-year-old daughter. She is thankful for the Internet to have the opportunity to communicate with friends and family back home.
“I don’t have the strength to talk to my daughter everyday, its very emotional,” she said. “But its very uplifting and makes me want to get through the day and be one more day closer to going home.”