840th Deployment Distribution Support Battalion mission expands
October 16, 2009
JOINT BASE BALAD, Iraq - The mission of the 840th Deployment Distribution Support Battalion has expanded recently due to the re-deployment of many units in accordance with the responsible drawdown of forces throughout Iraq in the coming months.
The unit is comprised of Soldiers, Airmen and Coast Guardsman who come from units all across the country and do a permanent change of station to various locations in Jordan, Kuwait and at Joint Base Balad.
Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Galbusieri, detachment sergeant, 840th Transportation Battalion and a Fort Lauderdale, Fla. native said the unit received notification they were acquiring 31 more personnel which required needing more workspace.
"We have been working with the Air Force and civilian contractors to construct two new office trailers to house the new personnel, installing electrical lines and ordering new equipment," said Galbusieri. "We have been working hand in hand with the Air Force on this project and the working relationship has been excellent."
Lt. Col James Utley, commander, 840th Transportation BN, and an Acworth, Ga. native said the unit's mission through a battlefield presence to coordinate deployment and redeployment support, container management and surface distribution operations.
"We are responsible for three major functions, the biggest one being redeployment support," said Utley.' "We input everything on the transportation coordinators automated information management system, which is the system all units use to process all the equipment through.
Utley said they will handle all units' equipment that redeploys out of Iraq including every Brigade Combat Team in the country. The other two functions include container management and terminal operations.
Sgt. Maj. Bryan L. Elder, battalion sergeant major, 840th Transportation BN said the unit is in charge of three major ports that equipment is being distributed to in Ummqasar ,Iraq, Aqaba, Jordan and Shuwaikh, Kuwait with a commercial operations support element in Shuaiba, Kuwait.
"What we do is hire civilian contractors and to pick up the equipment for a unit that is scheduled to redeploy, wash their equipment and load it on the ship to expedite it back to their home stations," said Elder. "We are responsible for almost 60 percent of all equipment in Iraq that has to be retrograded back to the states."
Galbusieri said that since March the unit has moved over 15,000 containers of equipment out of Iraq.
Utley said this is part of a relatively new program called door to door redeployment.
"Multi National Corps-Iraq assessed that something needed to be done and gave us some instruction and we ran with it," said Utley."In the next three months we will be moving four BCT's equipment through the port in Aqaba, Jordan."
Utley said the goal is to take the burden of redeploying units.
"We take care of everything from custom inspections to having all the proper documentation," We want to relieve the burden of the unit and allow the bulk of the unit to be able to leave a little earlier."
Elder said this is a new concept by using civilian contractors which streamlines the process of getting equipment out of Iraq and units home faster.
Utley said the real push began about a month and a half ago and the unit is preparing to redeploy its first BCT.
"I think we are doing something good here and making history at the same time."