New Jersey Reserve Quartermasters take over operations at amnesty collection point
February 5, 2010
JOINT BASE BALAD, Iraq - The 716th Quartermaster Company took over operations of the amnesty collection point from the 910th QM Co. Feb. 1 at Joint Base Balad, Iraq.
The 716th QM Co., 80th Ordnance Battalion, 15th Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) is the second to operate the amnesty collection point since its open in October, said Chief 2 Anthony Potenzone, officer in charge of the amnesty collection point at JBB.
The 716th QM Co., a Army Reserve unit from Jersey City, N.J., arrived in country in December, they worked hand-in-hand with the 910th QM Co. to learn the operations for the logistical support they would provide when they replaced the 910th QM Co., said Potenzone.
The 716th manages the collection point with the support of the 80th Ord. Bn., said Capt. James Beck commander of the 716th QM Co. The amnesty yard in JBB is one the larger collection point in Iraq and supports the largest SSA in theater, he said. The amnesty yard processes a high volume of retrograde material due greatly to the fact JBB serves as a major logistic hub for the surrounding bases, said Beck, a Pittsburgh native.
The amnesty collection point processes retrograde materials from JBB and the smaller bases that surround it, said Potenzone. Retrograde materials are put back into the supply system either as reusable supplies or recyclable materials, he said. Unused new equipment is sent to the Sustainment Supply Activity, reusable items are sent to the Redistribution Property Accountability Team and scrap metals sent to the Defense Retrograde Material Office, said Potenzone.
"Any equipment in theater that is excess or unaccounted for can be turned into this yard no questions asked," said Potenzone. "We process it and send it where it needs to go to send it back into the supply system."
Originally the collection point was solely for the retrograde materials being sent from the smaller bases slated to close, said 1st Lt. Robert McGrath officer in charge of the Operation Clean Sweep. Due to the overwhelming base wide response the collection point's Amnesty Day, Sept. 12, the operation at the yard was made daily, said McGrath, a Castle Rock, Wash., native.
The purpose of the amnesty collection point is to gather excess supplies all over Iraq and provide them to the units who do need, said McGrath. This method allows supplies already in Iraq to be redistributed and saves American taxpayer's money, said McGrath.
McGrath said only the prices of unused supplies sent to the SSA are documented, the dollar amount retrograde materials sent to DRMO and RPAT are not recorded. Within roughly the four months the collection point has been open, it has saved millions of dollars in just unused supplies alone, he said.
"We've put 225 million dollars worth of supplies back into the Army system," said McGrath. "We average nearly 10 million dollars a week."
Soldiers at the collection point go through the cargo by hand and visually check the items, said Spc. Lauren Goss, a forklift operator with the 716th QM Co. The cargo is packed and loaded onto a flatbed or trailer and sent to be process into the supply system, she said.
"We separate it so it can be filtered back into the Army supply," said Goss, a Pittsburgh native.
Beck said with Soldiers various military occupational background, they have adapted to their mission at the amnesty yard and have taken on the task.
"Some of these Soldiers have never done this kind of work, but because of their versatility and for some of them their civilian careers they create a synergetic effect," said Beck. "They can see materials that are coming in and say 'this is good' or 'this is no good' and get supplies back into the system."
Beck said within five months of operation the amnesty collection point in JBB saves millions of dollars for taxpayers and provides logistical support for the Soldiers deployed in Iraq.