MOSUL, Iraq -- As the responsible drawdown of U.S. troops and equipment from Iraq continues, the Central Receiving and Shipping Point at Contingency Operating Location Marez in Mosul, Iraq, will be instrumental in managing the movement of both equipment and personnel.

Sgt. Xavier T. Salone, the noncommissioned officer in charge of the CRSP with the 359th Inland Cargo Transport Company out of Fort Eustis, Va., said when the units arrive in country, their mission-essential equipment comes through the CRSP yard. If the Soldiers at the CRSP do not do their job, then the units here will not succeed in their mission, he said.

"The mission with the CRSP yard is to make sure units get the equipment that they require to do their jobs," said 1st Lt. Michael A. Miller, detachment commander with the 359th ICTC, 515th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), and a Newport News, Va., native.

Miller said the CRSP will store containers, equipment and vehicles for units until a convoy can take the shipment to its destination. "My guys are doing a real good job keeping accountability," he said.

Pfc. Timon R. Howlett, a transportation management coordinator with the 359th and a Mount Airy, N.C., native, said his job at the CRSP yard is to keep an accurate account of all incoming and outgoing cargo.

"I have to keep an inventory," said Howlett. "When a customer comes in, I have to verify their (transportation movement request) with our paperwork, make sure that it is their equipment."

During a particularly busy week, the yard had 120 pieces constantly going in and out, he said. "A busy day would be 25 to 50 containers or vehicles," said Howlett. "The average would be 150 vehicles or containers (per week)."

The yard is generally busiest when units are redeploying or arriving in country, said Howlett.

"Without organization, a job like this is not possible," he said.

Salone, a Shreveport, La., native, said a majority of his Soldiers were fresh out of Advanced Individual Training. He said he cross-trains them and sets up scenarios to help improve their skills.

These Soldiers learned to triple stack containers and how to pick up items from different angles, said Salone. The CRSP yard Soldiers operate or handle every piece of equipment that comes through the yard, he said.

"If it is too difficult for the Soldiers, then I come out there and offer my expertise," said Salone, "but for the most part the Soldiers do the work. They get a lot of hands-on training."

"I put them in different situations that they normally wouldn't do back in the states," said Salone.

He said the training the Soldiers receive here can help them get jobs outside of the military, making them stronger trainers and better-prepared employees.

Howlett said the Iraqis have started to help move the equipment at the CRSP yard instead of relying on Soldiers. This participation is an example of the transition of responsibilities from U.S. forces to the people of Iraq, he said.

"They now kind of have an idea of what they're doing, so they go right where they need to go and wait for instructions," said Howlett. "We're teaching them the right way to do it."

Page last updated Wed November 11th, 2009 at 07:51