By Sharonda Pearson, 401st AFSB Public AffairsNovember 8, 2013
KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan -- Less than one month after relocating from the Army Field Support Battalion-Kandahar, 401st Army Field Support Brigade compound to the Redistribution Property Assistance Team yard, the Small Arms Support Center has more than doubled its capacity to support the Warfighter's small arms weapons supply, maintenance and technical support needs.
"The relocation of the Kandahar SASC means more convenience for the Warfighter," said Matt Sibley, the 401st Army Field Support Brigade armament operations manager. "Instead of taking us an hour or two to complete required annual maintenance checks on 40 weapons, it takes us an hour or two to check 100 weapons, which means less time a Soldier has to wait to get back in the fight," Sibley said.
Lt. Col. Roy Speaks, the AFSBn-Kandahar commander responsible for authorizing the center's relocation, said moving the SASC -- which performs on site inspections and repairs of small arms weapons for return to use, redistributes weapons based on operational needs, or places unneeded small arms weapons into storage -- was part of a natural progression for the battalion to streamline support to Soldiers.
"It made sense to relocate the SASC to the epicenter of the 4-401st support activity," Speaks said. "Previously we were working off different systems and actually had the receiving, shipping and accounting of Theater Property Equipment, TPE, separate from the maintenance activity. By combining the efforts we streamlined support to the Warfighter and increased our ability to account for and redistribute armament capabilities within Afghanistan. In addition we built a better system to retrograde weapons for rebuild and redistribution into the Army wholesale system."
Sibley believes the relocation benefits both the Soldier and battalion because of the increased physical security and oversight of thousands of small arms weapons.
"Now when a Soldier shows up at the RPAT to turn in the different classes of supply, he can also be relived of accountability for his small arms weapons at the same location," Sibley said. "Also, we are equipped to handle all aspects of small arms maintenance, and we also handle the property accountability once a unit turns in their weapons. We make sure the battalion is covered by maintaining physical security of the weapons, and ultimately, we make sure that the Soldier is covered by making sure they have what they need to successfully execute their mission."
Richard Nash, lead weapons repair technician at the Kandahar Airfield SASC, credits the center's team for the smooth transition during the relocation.
"Our physical security and qualified personnel are unmatched by any facility in theater," Nash said. "The team functions so efficiently that there was no interruption of service to the Warfighter during the move -- you couldn't ask for a better one-stop shop to support the Warfighter's small arms weapon needs," Nash said.