Sergeant Major of the Army visits new Kandahar RPAT, connects with Soldiers
March 29, 2013
The Army's top enlisted Soldier visited the Kandahar Redistribution Property Assistance Team (RPAT) yard, a one-stop-shop for the Warfighter to turn in Army Theater Provided Equipment at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, to receive an update on the current retrograde process, March 26.
Sgt. 1st Class Lesa Dash, the noncommissioned officer-in-charge, provided Sgt. Maj. of the Army Raymond Chandler III, with an overview of the process since the opening of the new Kandahar RPAT on March 22. Chandler then toured the facility and spoke with Army Field Support Battalion-Kandahar, 401st Army Field Support Brigade Soldiers who elaborated on their duties and responsibilities.
"The Redistribution Property Assistance Team facilitates the expedient turn-in, redistribution, and retrograde of all excess property book Class II and Class VII, Early Retrograde Equipment (ERE), Theater Provided Equipment (TPE) and Automatic Reset Induction (ARI) equipment to improve property accountability, drawdown equipment levels in Afghanistan, and ease the transition of units out of theater," Dash said.
The new Kandahar RPAT, which more than doubles the capacity to process vehicles of the previous facilities, will be used as a consistent front for receiving rolling and non-rolling stock from the Warfighter. The Warfighter will now have one single location to turn in TPE and ARI equipment.
"We are here for one purpose, and that's to support the Warfighter," said Capt. Lee Berry IV, the officer-in-charge of the Kandahar RPAT. "Our No. 1 goal is to make the turn in of their equipment for retrograde as easy and streamlined as possible," Berry added.
As Chandler rotated to each station to learn more about the streamlined retrograde process as a result of the new Kandahar RPAT opening, he made a point to ask Soldiers about their futures.
"Is this what you expected to be doing when you joined the Army?" Chandler asked Spc. Christopher Allen, a representative from the Surface Deployment and Distribution Command. "No sergeant major, but I love what I do," Allen responded.
"Do you plan on re-enlisting?" Chandler continued. "Yes, sergeant major. I actually met with a career counselor yesterday to discuss my options," Allen said.
Chandler concluded his visit by thanking the Soldiers for their service and encouraging them to stay flexible as the Army continues to operate under fiscal constraints.
"What you do here is important," Chandler told the young enlisted Soldiers. "Many of you are performing duties outside of your MOS, but you've adapted. And, that's what we have and always will do as Soldiers -- adapt and overcome," he said.
The Soldiers were honored to have the opportunity to talk about their role in the retrograde mission as well as their plans for the future with Chandler.
"It's a privilege to have the opportunity to brief such a senior ranking Soldier," said Pfc. Richard Sagarino, who briefed Chandler about conducting the final ammunition abatement checks before a vehicle is staged for shipment. "I can't believe that I've only been in the Army for one year, and I had the opportunity to brief the Sergeant Major of the Army. It was truly an honor," he said.