“I have your back:” The importance of supplies in a pandemic

By Natela Cutter, Mission Public Affairs

As staff and faculty at DLIFLC have learned over the last year, if you ever need anything, like cleaning supplies, computers, computer screens, cables or microphones…just call Rachel Bailey. As she often says, “I have your back. I’ll hook you up.”

Rachel Bailey, a logistics management specialist working for the Deputy Chief of Staff of Personnel and Logistics, hands out cleaning supplies during the pandemic.

When the pandemic began raging last March and the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language shut its doors, sending students, faculty and staff home to continue working and studying remotely, some offices had to stay open. Bailey, a logistics management specialist working for the Deputy Chief of Staff of Personnel and Logistics, stepped up.

“Rachel literally saved our mission,” said Maribel Johai, director of Test Management at DLIFLC. “We couldn’t close our testing facilities down, students had to graduate,” she said, explaining that everything had to be sanitized before and after use, to include tables, chairs, keyboards, door knobs and any surfaces touched.

“There were basically no cleaning supplies anywhere,” said Bailey. “Everything had sold out. I tried to use mandatory sources to purchase hand sanitizer and disinfectant, but everything was on back order,” she said. Going without or making do was simply “not an option.”

Though each organization has a Government Purchase Card holder, many of them were dumbfounded by how difficult it was to locate supplies and work through the wickets to ensure the purchase was properly executed in accordance with strict government regulations. Realizing this, Bailey went to the GPC coordinator for the entire installation to see what could be done and if the rules could be bent, considering the situation.

“I kept saying – ‘the show must go on, people!’ I called our main GPC coordinator and he told me that I could try local vendors but to keep all of my emails and receipts. After that, I was able to purchase from a local vendor that sells sanitary supplies to Pebble Beach,” she said, as Target, Costco and all other local grocery stores had no supplies.

“Rachel does not quit until the job is done. She will do almost whatever it takes to find the best deal or get whatever it is you are looking for,” said Jason Munoz, the installation GPC coordinator.

Before disinfectant supplies became readily available on the Presidio, Bailey divvied out small stashes of supplies as emergency help to offices, while advising them not to place orders that vendors could not immediately fill.

She was also instrumental in providing sanitation supplies to one of the barracks designated for potential COVID-19 patients.

“We were lucky that they actually didn’t have to use the facility more than twice,” but the supplies were still needed to be on hand, she said.

A few months down the road, Bailey jumped in once again to provide the schools with several hundred microphones that were needed for the classrooms to run hybrid teaching. The concept involved having students sit in the classrooms while the instructors remained home and taught remotely.

When asked how she manages so well under pressure, Bailey says that her life has not been smooth sailing. She moved to the United States from the Philippines with her father when she was a teenager. One of the first things she experienced as a junior in New York City was 9/11. To get her mind off the trauma and missing her family and friends, her father introduced her to surfing.

“Surfing helped me cope with the pressures of teenage life. So, instead of being depressed about not having friends, I would take my surfboard through the New York subway,” until she reached her destination.

A few years later she moved to Southern California where she continued riding the waves until she joined the Army as a unit supply specialist and later logistician.

Today, Bailey is able to enjoy surfing on the Monterey Peninsula with her two children and husband on the weekends even during the pandemic.

Posted Date: 27 May 2021