By Natalie ColeDecember 20, 2010
CAMP BUEHRING, Kuwait - Soldiers and civilians who have deployed know a thing or two about the duffle bag drag, the term for the experience of carrying, pushing, rolling, or dragging duffle bags packed with military gear through air ports and customs points.
Traditionally, deploying and redeploying personnel must carry the ubiquitous olive green duffle bags as they travel because they receive and turn in their gear in the United States. However, the grand opening of a full-service Theater Central Issue Facility on Camp Buehring, Kuwait, Dec. 17, means that personnel deploying into the Army Central Command area can now travel with much lighter loads.
Operated by the 469th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 1st Sustainment Brigade, the Buehring CIF will allow Soldiers, Department of Defense employees, and contractors to travel into or through Kuwait, and go the facility to receive their standard military items. On the way home, personnel can turn in their gear at the Buehring CIF before making their final trip home. Getting and turning in gear on the ground eliminates the need to lug it across continents.
The new facility\'s stock is comparable to CIFs in the United States, said Project Officer Maj. Antionette Chase, 1st Sustainment Brigade.
"Soldiers will be able to receive almost everything issued to them at their home station CIF with the exception of NBC [Nuclear Biological Chemical] equipment that is normally carried on the unit's organizational hand receipt," she said.
Chase said because of the electronic CIF receipt system, most deployed personnel who have traveled into theater with gear from CIFs in the United States can turn in that gear at the Buehring CIF before heading home; personnel interested in this option should call the Buehring CIF to verify that they met the proper requirements.
The new facility, with its large inventory and computerized receipts, will improve the ways the Army can best serve its deployed personnel. "The CIF at Camp Buehring will be the only Kuwait facility capable of bulk issues and turn ins for Soldiers before deploying into [or out of] Iraq," Chase said.
"The Buehring location makes it easily accessible, since that is where the majority of units pre-stage before entrance into Iraq. Soldiers, DoD Civilians, and contractors redeploying through Kuwait can also use the CIF for turn in prior to their departure and reduce the amount of time spent at [demobilization sites] back in [the U.S.]."
Command Sgt. Maj. Tom Brashears, 469th CSSB, said the Buehring CIF is an example of how the Army is shifting its resources to support the changing needs and missions of its personnel in Iraq, Kuwait, and Afghanistan.
He added that the Buehring CIF offers many practical benefits. For example, the facility will reduce the costs of transporting gear back and forth, and it will lessen the potential for expensive combat gear to become damaged as it gets slammed around in the duffle bag shuffle.
Brashears said he and Soldiers in the 469th look forward to making deployments more efficient for people. "Our intent is to take care of all customers in a timely manner," he said.
Chase shared the following information for Soldiers and civilians looking to use the Buehring CIF:
Aca,!Ac Individual Soldiers do not need appointments; however, if a customer requires a full issue, the CIF staff highly recommends an appointment.
Aca,!Ac All bulk issues (ten soldiers or more) require appointments to speed-up the process.
Aca,!Ac All customers will have their individual hand receipts updated at the end of their transactions and the hand receipts will be verifiable through Army Knowledge Online.
Aca,!Ac The facility is open seven days a week, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. The facility will become a 24-hour operation as soon as the staffing is confirmed, according to Warrant Officer Tara Garner, accountable officer at the Buehring CIF.
Aca,!Ac For questions and appointments, call CIF customer service at DSN 318-438-6014.
Aca,!Ac Warrant Officer Garner can be reached at DSN 318-438-6019 for more information.