Operation 'Move Iron' gets Soldiers, weapons, home quick
August 23, 2010
By Natalie Cole
- Operation lowers stress of returning Soldiers
CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait (Army News Service, Aug. 23, 2010) -- Soldiers with the 1st Theater Sustainment Command, 653rd Regional Support Group, at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, have answered the call to get troops home as quickly as possible by conducting Operation Move Iron.
The operation was created to eliminate delays for Soldiers redeploying individually or in small groups that must complete weapons out processing.
Soldiers with weapons that redeploy in large groups have organized plans for customs clearance at major travel hubs overseas. However, not all Soldiers are attached to a large company or battalion. Operation Move Iron expedites the process for these Soldiers.
"They're limited on the flights we can put them on, so it often ends up that they stay here in Kuwait for a number of days extra while they wait for that flight," said Col. Robert Olson, an officer with the command who advocates the program. "It gets very old, very quickly, and of course they want to get home."
Staff Sgt. Elvan Daugherty and Spc. Adam Christensen are the "gun-runners" for the operation. The two Soldiers travel to major hubs almost every day to collect weapons from participating Soldiers. They prepare the weapons for customs inspection, pack the weapons once they are cleared and ship the weapons to the United States.
The regional group responsible for the operation is more than happy to take some stress off of returning Soldiers, Daugherty said. "They don't have the hassle of carrying that weapon."
Operation Move Iron allows Soldiers to get home up to four days sooner, and Olson said information about the operation is spreading among Soldiers through word-of-mouth.
"We've gotten great feedback," he said, adding that he always receives calls from redeploying Soldiers that want to participate in the program.
The smiling faces prove that the operation is having a positive impact on Soldiers, Christensen said. "It's very satisfying to see that."
Operation Move Iron is an example of how the smaller parts of a mission can make a big difference for Soldiers.
"We do deployment ops, so it actually fits right in with that," Olson said. "We're just extending it a little bit to help individual Soldiers that are redeploying."
(Natalie Cole writes for 1st TSC Public Affairs)