Virginia Guard equipment gets tagged for easier tracking

With the help of a contracting team, Virginia Guard Soldiers tag sensitive and high-dollar equipment items with a unique identification, or UID, tag to streamline the inventory process. Equipment at all Virginia Guard armories and field maintenance shops across the commonwealth will be tagged, with the goal of streamlining the tracking and accountability of equipment across the state through an automated system. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Terra C. Gatti, Virginia Guard Public Affairs)

FORT PICKETT, Va. — Across the commonwealth, Virginia Guard Soldiers are adding small, square unique identification tags, or UIDs, to sensitive and high-dollar equipment items to streamline the inventory process.

“The little barcode will be with that piece of equipment from cradle to grave,” said Chief Warrant Officer Renate Long, assistant logistics planner for the Virginia Guard. “So now when someone goes out to scan, let’s say, a truck, they’ll be able to access everything that ever happened to that truck – when the engine got replaced, if it was in an accident, what units it went to and where it’s going next.”

In 2004, according to Long, the U.S. Army began applying UIDs to all newly produced equipment as a step toward a more automated way to maintain and track inventory. “What we’re trying to do is catch up with all the legacy equipment that came out before that, so that inventories can be done automatically,” Long said. “Ideally everything will have a little UID tag on it.”

Once all Virginia Guard items are equipped with UIDs, the inventory process will be simplified, allowing supply sergeants and others conducting inventory assessments to simply scan an item’s UID to verify accountability.

“They’ll be able to shoot it like they do in stores,” Long said.

Along with simplifying the inventory process, the addition of UIDs to Virginia Guard equipment will eliminate human error that often occurs when trying to decipher tiny serial numbers by hand.

“For these overworked supply sergeants who have to spend an entire day in a vault, now they’ll be able to just scan, scan, scan,” Long explained.

“We’re the first National Guard state to have done this,” said Long, who credited the project’s success with cooperation from units across the state. “It just shows you how well we can all work together. All the supply sergeants down to the unit level, they’ve really had to do the brunt of the work, on very short notice, but everyone worked together to get it done.”

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