By First Lt. Juan Torres, 2-13 Cav.March 26, 2010
CONTINGENCY OPERATING STATION HUNTER, Iraq (March 26, 2010) -- Preparing for any redeployment often involves extensive inventories and equipment reallocations, but the process for one U.S. base in southern Maysan Province has the added challenge of transferring the entire base, equipment and crucial infrastructure.
Like other bases in Iraq, when the U.S. leaves, Iraqi personnel will be taking over and making use of Contingency Operating Station Hunter, which has been scheduled to officially change hands March 26.
"[COS Hunter] is the largest property closing for all of southern Iraq this year and continues to set the standard for future base closures," said Tony Cameron, the team leader for the Base Closure Assistance Team.
The base will be transitioned from the 2nd Squadron, 13th Cavalry Regiment to the Iraqi Army's 41st Brigade. The process requires a continually evolving inventory system known as FEPP, or foreign excess personal property. The Base Closure Assistance Teams and unit logistics personnel work round-the-clock to maintain accountability of equipment for transfer to the 41st Brigade.
"Items like generators, tents and water purification units get nominated for transfer because it is often more cost-effective to transfer items as opposed to shipping to Afghanistan or other theaters," said Cameron.
FEPP is essentially a large-scale inventory system designed to organize property from various sources that range in size from a single trash can to multiple buildings.
Equipment not deemed mission-essential for units in theater is then considered excess and has the potential to be transferred.
The execution of this complex mission is generating momentum as more bases prepare for closure.
After identifying suitable bases, the exhausting preparation of setting apart equipment nominated to fall under FEPP is inventoried and cataloged for submission for United States Forces-Iraq -level approval.
"It's quite intense when you step back and recognize the amount of equipment needed to be accounted for," said Cameron.
This new system provides Iraqi Army partners with increased infrastructure assets to continue operations as well as fulfill future opportunities for creating a joint training facility in southern Maysan Province.
Under earlier base transfers, U.S. units would often not be able to leave critical items -- such as wiring -- needed to maintain functionality.
"[Task Force Saber] is able to transfer important items that make an office function, as well as additional hard structures and areas built with specific purposes like motor pools," said 1st Lt. E. Blaine Decker, supply officer, TF Saber, and a native of College Station, Texas.
The Iraqi Army leadership is updated regularly on the FEPP process. Iraqi Army Staff Brig. Gen. Muhammad, commander, 41st IA Brigade, has partnered with TF Saber over the past year. His unit will receive millions of dollars in equipment at COS Hunter.
"Working with the 41st IA staff, we know that the material will go toward good use," said Decker.
Though operations are focused primarily on redeployment at COS Hunter, Soldiers across TF Saber continue work to ensure long-term success well after U.S. withdrawal, such as the forward support company mechanics who continue to lead maintenance training, particularly for newly transferred equipment.