By Mr. Mark Manicone (Fort Jackson)August 9, 2017
When you step out into the backwoods of Fort Jackson you'd expect to hear the distinct popping of trainees' 5.56 caliber rifles as they hone their marksmanship skills at the multitude of ranges.
What you wouldn't expect is a hidden threat, and it's not pop-up targets. Thirty-year-old two and a half ton trucks litter the ranges on post, basking in the South Carolina sun, with no will or way to move.
That is, until Solid Waste Program Manager Lisa McKnight got a hold of them.
"No one wanted to deal with it," McKnight said. "They just needed someone to bring it together I guess."
After starting the process over a year ago, the first batch of 22 deuce and a halfs are finally set to be removed from multiple ranges in the coming weeks. The process for getting these trucks out was long, arduous and full of paperwork.
McKnight had to get certificates approving each truck for removal from various agencies on post including: Defense Logistics Agency Explosive Ordinance Disposal, Ammunition Supply Point and the Safety Offices. She also had to undergo another step regarding radioactive components in the trucks. The truck's gauges had to be checked for radium, and six out of the 22 set for disposal tested positive.
The trucks had been sitting for over 20 years at ranges on post, serving as targets on some ranges and hazards on others. Some were just placed at ranges like storage. And that's money sitting around doing nothing for the Army.
"Metal is worth a lot of money and we need to have that to provide to the Army," McKnight said. "Plus, it's cleaning up Fort Jackson."
Many of these trucks sitting on post aren't even native to Fort Jackson. John Peck was of the original people responsible in the effort to move these trucks. Peck was a part of the 187 Infantry Brigade responsible for moving all these trucks to Fort Jackson., before it shut down.
McKnight was able to contact him and coordinate information with him to get the ball rolling on the cleanup process.
"We took trucks from forts everywhere: Steward, Bragg, Jackson, you name it," Peck said. "They were originally wanted for range targets, and mount/ dismount training."
Anzio Range on post has the trucks that were used most for target practice, but other trucks just sat at ranges for years, with no other purpose except to rust. While they pose possible training hazards, they were deemed environmentally safe before they were towed to the ranges.
"We drained all the fluids and oil from them, and then towed them out," Peck said.
There has been an overwhelming positive response from agencies on post. Most people were eager to help when asked about information or logistical support surrounding the cleanup, McKnight said.
"Everyone that knows I'm doing this is extremely excited that this is happening," McKnight said. "I couldn't ask for a better team."
Now that the process has finally started, McKnight is eager, and on deadline, to get the rest of the 40-60 trucks off post. DLA has announced that it is cutting hours, so it would slow the removal process if it was not completed before DLA puts new hours into effect. McKnight is aiming to have these trucks gone by the end of this year.
"As soon as this first batch of 22 starts moving, I'm gearing up the paperwork for the next batch," McKnight said.