More Frustrations with CIF

Date Published: 17 June 2004

More Frustrations with CIF

As an FYI for other IRR soldiers and perhaps as an tip for those folks tasked with mobilizing soldiers, here's some things to remember about CIF (clothing issue facility), at least at Ft. Leonard Wood.

  • Expect half of your trips there to be a complete waste of time (perhaps not so many if you follow the rest of these tips)
  • For soldiers, no matter what your rank, you need to bring a unit representative with you in order for CIF to issue you anything or for you to turn in anything. This representative does not, as far as I can tell, do anything other than stand there, but the civilians who run CIF must derive some benefit from wasting the representative's time.
  • Despite the fact that there are published hours for TA-50 turnin, don't expect that you can actually turn it in during these hours without a previous appointment. And don't expect an appointment to be available less than several days in advance. For units tasked with mobilizing soldiers, please ensure these appointments are made well in advance, and preferably take place prior to when the mobilizing soldiers are scheduled to depart FLW.
  • If you the soldier do make an appointment with the people who work at desks in the CIF facility, and you don't confirm such apponitment with the people who work in the warehouse part of CIF, don't expect one to talk to the other. It seems the people inside the warehouse have their own ideas as to when they will accept appointments which don't coincide with the desk folks' promises.
  • And, as noted earlier, if you're a mobilizing soldier and you will be going to a CRC, don't expect to get DCUs issued prior to arrival at the CRC, regardless of what anybody outside CIF tells you. CIF won't issue them.
  • Make sure you keep a copy of your CIF clothing issue record. CIF claims they do not keep copies of these and it is the soldier's responsibility to keep it. Of course that is so much BS -- they have a copy of it in their computer but they don't want to have to print one out.
  • (many, not all)CIF folks exemplify, in my experience, the worst examples of government bureaucracy power-tripping. For example, today a CIF civilian told me that I could not leave FLW until clearing CIF and that I could not clear CIF without a representative from my unit and an appointment and my receipt. If I'm to believe this individual, they actually think that their authority trumps my orders, which require me to be on a plane in 3 days headed for Ft. Bliss en route to Iraq. I told them that if they didn't have any appointments before Sunday, I'd just drop their crap off on their doorstep and they could deal with it on Monday.

Those notes should help some others avoid some of my frustrations. Here's a quick recap of today's events to add a bit of context. I found out earlier this week that TA-50 turn-in was done on a walk-in basis until 1030 M-F. I arrived at CIF at 0900 and found that they had a couple hundred people there getting gear issued. No problem, I asked when would be a good time to return and was told “1230-- no, make that 1220” so that I could beat a unit that was arriving at 1230. I arrived at 1210, went inside and waited a few minutes with my gear, and spoke to another individual who informed me that (a) they don't open before 1230, (b) don't listen to anything the people out in the front office say, (c) he can't help me without a unit representative, (d) he can't help me unless I have my clothing record receipt, (e) he has no appointment times available either today or tomorrow, so (f) I can't clear post without clearing CIF. I finally got him to concede that I can come back at 0730 tomorrow, again trying to beat another unit here, and I have to have a unit rep with me to hold my hand. Since I'm also turning in Chris's gear (for which I don't have a receipt), it will be interesting to see how things go tomorrow. I'm going to try and get as high-ranking of a unit rep as possible to come with me so that perhaps they'll grease things, but in my experience the civilians at CIF don't really care what rank the army folks are whom they are (supposedly) supporting.

Steve Smith

About Ardalis

Software Architect

Steve is an experienced software architect and trainer, focusing on code quality and Domain-Driven Design with .NET.