KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan -- U.S. Army Materiel Command, the Army's single logistics command, and Program Executive Office Ground Combat Systems have partnered to streamline the process for the Warfighter to turn in Stryker combat vehicles prior to redeployment.

"In an effort to make the process as streamlined as possible, the 401st integrated operations with Program Executive Office Ground Combat Systems to facilitate the Warfighter's ability to turn in their Stryker[s] at the RPAT with the rest of their equipment versus having to take it to a separate location," said Capt. Lee Berry, the officer in charge of the AFSBn-Kandahar, 401st Army Field Support Brigade Redistribution Property Assistance Team yard. "Prior to the change of operations in March 2013, units were required to take their Strykers to another location specifically designated for PM Stryker."

To better meet the needs of the Warfighter, the process has evolved into a one-stop-shop concept intended to foster open communication, improve collaboration and eliminate redundancies in the Stryker retrograde process.

"We realized that we -- the 401st AFSB, 3rd Sustainment Brigade, and PM Stryker -- were all executing the same mission but at separate locations," said Berry. Now we have all the transportation experts, the pack, wrap and ship experts, and the PM Stryker team in one single location, which enables us to learn from each other and provide better support to the Warfighter," Berry said.

"The 401st AFSB, Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command, 3rd Sustainment Brigade, PM Stryker and the Air Force has always had a weekly meeting to discuss our operations, but now we've taken that working group where we discussed issues and coordinated operations to the next level to ensure that we are all physically working together in the same location," Berry elaborated.

After a unit turns in its Stryker fleet and is relieved of accountability, 401st AFSB personnel conduct an ammunition abatement check, remove government furnished equipment and basic issue items, wash the outside of the vehicle on high pressure wash racks, and address any issues with the hydraulic systems -- all of which takes approximately 24 hours.

"After the 401st finishes the first half of the process, the vehicle is transferred to us, and the interior is washed for 24-36 hours in order to pass customs clearance," said Stewart Nickless, the PM Stryker contracting officer representative in Kandahar. "Then, we reassemble the interior of the vehicle and make sure it's functional because we have to be able to drive the vehicles into the C-17 aircraft to be transported CONUS," Nickless added.

Once the vehicle is staged for shipment, Roy Miller, AFSBn-Kandahar, 401st AFSB traffic management specialist, oversees the process of coordinating with PM Stryker and the Air Force to arrange transportation.

"PM Stryker personnel physically move the vehicle, but we coordinate the transportation. We complete the Transportation Control and Movement Document, get the equipment validated with Unit Line Numbers, and then we give all the information to PM Stryker so the vehicle is ready to be loaded when the aircraft comes," Miller said. "Due to our good relationship with PM Stryker, not only are we getting the mission done, but we are alleviating the strain and minimizing the time it takes for the Warfighter to turn in their equipment," he added.

Berry believes that the improved process saves the Army manpower and money, cuts down on operational lead time, and provides America's Warfighters with the decisive edge.

"It's easy to get so focused on your mission and potentially lose perspective of the big picture, which can hinder the overall mission," he said. "The logistics mission is to support the Warfighter, not to hinder them in any way -- not to disable them from executing their mission because the process of turning in their equipment is tedious and cumbersome. It's our responsibility to provide superior logistical support to the Warfighter so our Soldiers can continue the fight," Berry concluded.

Page last updated Tue July 23rd, 2013 at 00:00