By Staff Sgt. Matthew C. Cooley, 15th Sustainment Brigade Public AffairsApril 21, 2010
CONTINGENCY OPERATING LOCATION Q-WEST, Iraq - 15th Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), Soldiers assisted a mobile redistribution property accountability team to collect an estimated $30 million in equipment no longer needed here April 12-17 as part of the Army's ongoing effort to reduce its forces in Iraq.
The turned-in equipment, known as theater-provided equipment, was that which units received in Iraq for use only while deployed and until now was passed from one deployed unit to the next.
According to Sgt. Tamicka Coffee, the redistribution team's leader and a Miami native, much of the equipment will go back to 15th Sust. Bde.'s home station at Fort Hood, Texas while the rest goes to Joint Base Balad, Iraq for further segregation and shipping to Afghanistan, the U.S., or wherever there is a need.
Coffee likened the process to that of a clothing store. When the store runs out of stock on a shirt, it has to determine what supplier can best fulfill the need. Likewise, when an Army unit needs a piece of equipment they place an order for it which appears on a computer system. Equipment not currently assigned to a unit, such as that which is turned in to a redistribution team, is also recorded on that system. When a piece of equipment is available in two different places, supply specialists can see and order the one that is closer, reducing time and money costs.
Capt. Marion Sewell, a Chester, Penn., native and the 15th Sust. Bde.'s supply deputy officer, said the mobile redistribution team was very helpful in turning in equipment. Unlike a stationary redistribution property accountability team, the mobile version could accept 300 to 400 pieces of equipment daily, he said. The stationary version could only accept 100. He also mentioned that it was easier to fix any unforeseen problems that might occur during the process and said it was faster as well.
"It keeps hundreds of Soldiers off the road," he added. "It benefits everybody."
For the Soldiers at Q-West, turning the equipment in has a special meaning.
"It's a morale booster for the guys because they know they are going home," said 1st Lt. Brandon Reichlin, a Middletown, Del., native and executive officer of 733rd Transportation Company, 15th Special Troops Battalion, 15th Sust. Bde.
The 733rd turned in $6 million worth of trucks, communications equipment, tow bars, first aid gear, computers, and other equipment, said 1 Lt. Karen Hassler, the 733rd's commander and a Philadelphia native.
"It's a lot of moving parts," she explained.
The process required what Reichlin said was a lot of paperwork and time. Although he and the Soldiers of his unit had to put in extra hours to get the equipment turned in, he said that no one complained about doing what they needed to in order to go home.
"It's the end of mission," Hassler said. "[We're] ready to go home."