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DSCP helps soldiers at MDW look their best for Inauguration
Jan '09
The U.S. military has participated in Inauguration Day ceremonies since George Washington was sworn in as the first president in 1789. The Army's honor guard, part of the Military District of Washington, has participated in presidential inaugurations since 1921.

On Jan. 20, President-elect Barack Obama will be sworn in as president. The Defense Supply Center Philadelphia's clothing and textile supply chain personnel will help make it a memorable occasion.

The supply chain's Dress Clothing Division is responsible for supporting uniform requirements of the honor guard in the upcoming inauguration. About 3,550 men's and women's dress uniform items, including coats, trousers, slacks and skirts, have been ordered by the Clothing and Textile Dress Uniforms Integrated Supply Team. In addition, the Outerwear Integrated Supplier Team, led by Victoria Ryan, has awarded contracts for 476 raincoats and 684 overcoats for MDW.

"The success of the MDW program this year is a testament to the importance of forging good working relationships with our clothing industry partners," said Ryan.

All of these acquisitions required extensive contract tailoring as well as quality assurance efforts to ensure overall garment, including warehoused fabric, quality. For these reasons, both the Dress Uniforms and Outerwear teams worked closely with clothing and textile supervisor Pat Alldridge, chief of the Product Services Dress Clothing Team, to ensure stored material quality as well as sewing production perfection.

Requirements for outfitting the honor guard are much higher approaching Inaugurations. In order to ensure that the MDW presidential inauguration requirements were met, personnel held weekly meetings to review customer requirements and monitor contractor performance.

DSCP personnel have worked more than 18 months to finalize uniform and outerwear requirements for the inauguration. Because the items purchased are not worn often, when fabric is purchased, it is typically for several years' worth of requirements at a time, due to constraints associated with economically-feasible production runs.

Therefore, such material tends to be stored for much longer periods and is often subject to degradation and damage that would not occur to other fabrics that are consumed at a faster rate. To use the inventoried fabric for this important event, extensive examination, inspection and in several cases re-work, were required.

Alldridge said that members of her team inspected over 32,000 square yards of the high-quality fabric at various storage facilities in Michigan and New York over a three-week period.

"Sponging," the steam-and-chemical process applied to resolve minor to significant fabric quality issues discovered during inspection, was used to ensure that stored material could be used for events like this at the lowest cost to taxpayers.

"After inspection and sorting, there(were) some requirements to try and locate a sponging company to ensure that the exceptional finished appearance applies to all several thousand uniforms," said Allridge. "It can be quite difficult to find a company ready and willing to perform sponging on material product specialists are trying to salvage."

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