Operation Tribute to Freedom

Faces From the Front for July 11, 2011 - Chief Warrant Officer Robert Flynn and Sgt. 1st Class Reagan Metcalf

Chief Warrant Officer Robert Flynn

Current Unit: Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division
Current Position: Brigade Mobility Warrant Officer
Component: Iowa National Guard
Current Location: Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan
Hometown: Ogden, Iowa
Years of Service: 22

Sergeant First Class Reagan Metcalf

Current Unit: Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division
Current Position: Property Book Office Noncommissioned Officer-in-Charge
Component: Iowa National Guard
Current Location: Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan
Hometown: Ames, Iowa
Years of Service: 17

With Soldiers stationed in remote places throughout Afghanistan, getting our troops the right equipment at the right time is critical for completing the U.S. mission abroad. Chief Warrant Officer Robert Flynn and Sgt. 1st Class Reagan Metcalf, who are currently deployed with the Iowa National Guard, both work tirelessly to manage the logistics surrounding transporting and assigning equipment and military property while it is overseas.

For Flynn, his first challenge was getting all the equipment from rural Iowa to northern Afghanistan—a transcontinental feat spanning more than 7,000 miles.

“I’m the brigade mobility warrant officer, and it is my job to move the roughly 3,000 Soldiers and all of their equipment from the state of Iowa to Afghanistan and back,” he said. “With the help of my noncommissioned officer, we coordinate ground, air, and sea movement of the personnel and equipment.”

Although the Soldiers travel with their personnel equipment, including weapons and body armor, larger equipment such as vehicles must travel separately.

“I have to be prepared to move my brigade anywhere in the world, and each country has its own challenges when it comes to deployment or redeployment,” he said. “The biggest challenge with Afghanistan is that it is a land-locked country with no sea port. Most of the vehicles have to be flown into the country by planes and the containers are often transported by host nation drivers.”

It is a big job, but an essential one for keeping the brigade on track for mission success.

“If I didn’t do my job, nothing would move and the brigade wouldn’t be able to fulfill their jobs,” Flynn said.

Once the Soldiers and the equipment arrive overseas, Metcalf’s role as the property book office noncommissioned officer-in-charge kicks in. He is responsible for transitioning the gear between various outposts based on their demands.

“I manage organizational property for the brigade and process transactions between brigade units,” said Metcalf. “It is an important task because I help the units get what they need to fight the battle, complete the mission and keep them safe.”

Using a Modification Table of Organization and Equipment (MTOE), he compares each unit’s equipment on hand with the allotted totals as determined by unit leadership and mission demands. When there is a physical shortage, he either orders additional equipment or coordinates a transfer between units.

The necessity of his job does is not lost on Metcalf, especially in this fiscally conservative time.

“If the equipment is not accounted for properly, than the government can waste billions of dollars by replacing it and buying new equipment when they might not have to do so,” he said. “More importantly, if I do not ensure that I am doing as much as I can to get the units the equipment that they need, it could cost lives.”

Although they don’t work together on a daily basis, the efforts of Flynn and Metcalf are closely related. Metcalf makes sure that the equipment is assigned to the correct unit, which in turn helps Flynn guarantee that everything comes home in the right sequence.

For now, they are working to get the equipment to the proper units throughout Afghanistan, but soon, they will begin the redeployment process. Flynn and Metcalf, along with the rest of their unit, are scheduled to return home later this summer and they are both eager to see their families again.

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