Operations company maintains presence at Basra during transition
January 30, 2010
CONTINGENCY OPERATING LOCATION BASRA, Iraq - The 159th Seaport Operations Company, an inland cargo transfer company, is directly responsible for the Central Receiving and Shipping Point at Contingency Operating Location Basra, Iraq.
Sgt. 1st Class Damon L. Norris, the first sergeant for the COL Basra detachment of the 159th SOC, 80th Ordnance Battalion, 15th Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), out of Fort Story, Va., said the unit's primary mission is to receive, stage and document all incoming and outgoing unit equipment within the COL Basra CRSP yard.
As part of the upcoming drawdown, the 159th SOC has been reduced from its original 45 members to 11 members and no longer conducts 24-hour operations or base support operations, said Norris, a Washington native.
"We are responsible for receiving, documenting and staging equipment for supporting units on (COL) Basra," said Norris. "We were doing (COL) support as well, which pretty much entails moving ... containers and bulk stock equipment to different locations on the (COL). As of recently, we do not do the (COL) support anymore, but we still do the convoy support."
Norris said in about a month, when another group takes over for his unit, the remaining detachment will join the other 34 members of the unit to conduct a similar operation at Camp Adder, Iraq.
All but five of the units' vehicles have already been transferred to Adder, said Norris.
Sgt. Quintin E. L. Jones, the operations noncommissioned officer for the 159th SOC, and a Charlotte, N.C., native, said the unit has proportionally decreased how much cargo it handles because only a quarter of the unit remains at COL Basra.
The unit handles roughly 75 to 100 containers per month, which was the weekly volume when the unit arrived in country, said Jones.
"The convoy stuff still comes through here, we just do not do quite as much base support," said Jones. "The unit (has) to provide their own transportation to get their containers (in) shere and out of here, whereas before we used to do it ourselves."
Each container or piece of equipment moved through the CRSP yard goes through a process to ensure each item is tracked properly, said Jones. The requesting unit fills out a transfer movement request with the 159th SOC for the equipment they need moved, specifying the type and dimensions of the equipment being moved. The movement request is then sent to the 601st Movement Control Team, which allocates the vehicles to move the equipment.
Each piece of equipment is given a radio frequency identification tag to help keep track of the incoming and outgoing equipment, said Jones.
The process is designed to keep an organized and accurate account of where each piece of equipment is at any given time and ensures that it gets delivered to the right person or unit, said Jones.
Norris said he believes his Soldiers have been working well together to accomplish their mission.
"Anytime you do not have any injury to personnel, you do not have any serious damage to equipment ... and the basic outline of your mission has been successful ... I cannot help but to be pleased," said Norris.