By Sgt. 1st Class Naurys MarteJune 22, 2016
The 1st Theater Sustainment Command operates in a complex environment assisting Iraqi security forces in defeating Da'esh through the use of equipment provided by Iraq Train and Equip Funding.
There are many steps in the strategy to procure, process and position ITEF supplies and equipment; some of those steps include cooperation between not only different branches of the U.S. military, but that of various Coalition partners.
To ensure the safe transportation of ITEF equipment, 1st TSC Soldiers work jointly with Marines and Airmen. Once vetted through the Army movement combat team, the equipment is delivered to the Air Force for mobility into the areas of operation where ISF can then employ, as necessary, to counter ISIL as they work to regain territory from the terrorist group.
"We have to ensure the cargo is air worthy," said Army Sgt. 1st Class Steve Schism, detachment sergeant, 958th Movement Control Team, 257th Movement Control Brigade, 1st TSC, which means it has to be safe for transportation. "The team has to ensure that all equipment is properly secured and fastened on specific pallets.
"And whatever is being transported for the mission has to pass a rigorous screening process especially if the items are classified as hazardous."
Once cargo is screened, it goes through a joint inspection with the U.S. Air Force and Marines, and other Coalition forces to confirm proper paperwork and procedures were followed. After the inspection, the 1st TSC's movement control team, also referred to as the MCT, reviews all documentation, tracks each shipment and ensures the accurate drop location.
Attention to details and following procedures in all aspects of sustainment operations have a significant impact in the battlefield. "If these items are not properly fastened it can cause serious injury and death to personnel and severe damage to equipment. We don't put people in danger that's why we secure all equipment and have rigorous paperwork and verification processes," said Army Sgt. Cody Cope, movement NCO, 958th MCT, 257th MCB, 1st TSC.
This job is like Murphy's Law because anything that can go wrong, will go wrong; this job keeps us on our toes, said Marine Cpl. Alexander J. Lee, embarkation logistics specialist, Special Operations Joint Task Force - Operation Inherent Resolve, as he referred to how critical it is to pay attention to details when preparing shipments for airlift.
These shipments have real implications on the ground also, according to the U.S. Department of State, Iraqi forces have received more than 8 million pounds of ammunition and equipment, including small arms, machine guns, mortars, radios, and vehicles donated from Coalition forces and from U.S. contributions purchased using ITEF. They received these items through more than 100 airlifts in coordination with the Government of Iraq.
"Our main mission is to ensure we inspect for any and all hazardous materials that need to be shipped to ensure they are safe and will not damage the planes during transportation. This is a stressful job but it's very rewarding because when we keep personnel and equipment safe; that's what makes our job even more important," said Air Force Senior Airman Daniel M. Gardner, air transportation journeyman, 386th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron, 386 Air Equipment Wing.
In keeping equipment and people safe, they enable the uninterrupted flow of ITEF provided, Combined Joint Task Force - Operation Inherent Resolve facilitated equipment to Iraqi security forces as part of the building partner capacity mission.
In the fight against ISIL, these Soldiers, Marines and Airmen understand the importance of the safety of transport as it pertains to protecting their peers, equipment and assisting the ISF's capability to react to threats and conduct counter-terrorism operations. "We need to help them help themselves," said Lee.