KANDAHAR, Afghanistan -- For many Soldiers, deployment means entering a new environment and operating outside your comfort zone.

Sgt. Jhamon Grant, the 642nd Regional Support Group's operations noncommissioned officer in charge here, identifies with foreign operations. Grant, a native of Baton Rouge, La., transferred to the 642nd RSG from the 321st Sustainment Brigade, a U.S. Army Reserve unit from Decatur, Ga., for this mission. Operation Enduring Freedom marks his third deployment.

Grant says he's willing to go above and beyond what is expected of him, even though his mission isn't what he expected before getting here. Most of his leaders and peers are stationed in Kuwait; Grant is one of two 642nd Soldiers in Afghanistan.

Although Grant said he misses his fellow 642nd Soldiers, he's excited to be a part of the Mobile Container Assessment Team. The MCAT consists of 32 Soldiers in seven locations throughout Afghanistan.

Grant says that part of the MCAT's mission is to stop the government from receiving detention fees for non-government containers.

Once containers arrive in Afghanistan, they must be emptied and returned within 10 days to avoid lateness fees.

According to data obtained by USA Today, the Pentagon has spent more than $720 million since 2001 on fees for shipping containers that it has failed to return on time. If the military doesn't return a container on time, a rent-to-own arrangement requires the military to pay the shipper nearly $7,400 for a 20-foot container worth half that amount.

The Army's objective is to make the most use of origin-to-destination containers to sustain operations. The Army maintains unit integrity by keeping a unit's equipment together in the same container or ship.

The MCAT works to reduce unnecessary spending and detention fees by using the integrated booking system container management module. The system allows the team members to track the container's location, assess the container, and empty its contents into a government-owned receptacle, which allows carrier-owned containers to be sent back in a timely manner.

Grant, who is married with four children, said he believes the MCAT mission is essential because it reduces costs and prevents unnecessary detention fees.

Grant, a nine-year military veteran, said he was thrilled about his sudden mission.

"I feel that I'm learning a lot and gaining experience," he said.

Page last updated Sat December 24th, 2011 at 00:00