Soldiers saving taxpayers millions in Iraq
October 30, 2009
CONTINGENCY OPERATING LOCATION Q-WEST, Iraq (Oct. 29, 2009) -- The 15th Sustainment Brigade "Wagonmasters" began Operation Clean Sweep here in mid-October by finding $2.9 million in excess equipment to place back into the military supply system for reuse.
Army and Air Force personnel came together for the kickoff of the 15th's program to rid Multi-National Division - North's units of unneeded equipment while saving the military time and money, said Chief Warrant Officer Michael Adkins, the 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary)'s clean sweep representative for the 15th Sustainment Brigade.
The 15th Sustainment Brigade, which is in charge of sustainment operations in MND-North, actually began operation clean sweep at home station, Fort Hood, Texas, Adkins said.
"We brought our program from Fort Hood to Iraq to support responsible drawdown," Adkins explained.
The program also helps units to reduce their footprint, he said, which should make it easier for them to leave Iraq when the time comes.
"We're getting ahead of the waterfall," Adkins said. "[Clean Sweep] takes weeks out of the process ... of moving."
The Clean Sweep team is made up of smaller teams that are assigned to individual companies. These teams help the company commanders to identify items that the unit didn't bring with them and aren't essential to the current mission, Adkins said.
"Basic supplies, components of items, repair parts, local purchase items - anything a unit has that's not required for their mission," he said.
"Everything here was used at one point in time, but [the] mission changes and it becomes excess."
The extra equipment is separated by whether or not it is working or serviceable and then sent to Kuwait for further processing or to another unit in Iraq that requested the particular item, the chief explained.
Adkins also mentioned that the team processed 7,000 items during its first week on Q-West alone, though there was no way of knowing how many items will be placed back into the supply system or how much money will be saved when the operation is complete.
"We never know how much excess a unit has moved in on until we open the containers," he said.
Even Soldiers at the lowest levels have a basic understanding of the importance of Clean Sweep.
"[We] make sure it gets back to the states and gets put back to use," Spc. Cody Sharp, an A Company, 2nd Battalion, 198th Combined Arms Brigade, force protection Soldier, and Thompson Falls, Mont., native, said.
Headquarters Company, 2-198th, a Mississippi National Guard unit, had $270,000 worth of excess to turn in, according to Spc. Phillip Sword, a supply specialist with the unit.
Much of the excess was left by the previous unit and is no longer needed.
"We fell in on this ... and now we're trying to clean the place up," he explained.
"This makes it easier for another unit to close down this [base] when they come in."