By by Spc. Nicholas HansonApril 5, 2011
CAMP ARIFJAN, KUWAIT - The logistics involved in a massive military operation are astounding. When one steps back and looks at all the planning and procedures in place to sustain the Soldiers on the ground, a question of 'How'' comes to mind. When the 230th Sustainment Brigade's S-4 section arrived in Kuwait, the question of 'How do we make this work for such a large area'' came to the forefront of their future planning.
The Tennessee Army National Guard unit from Chattanooga recently took control of the Army's sustainment mission in Kuwait from the 1st Sustainment Brigade of Fort Riley, Kan. The mission inherited expands the 230th's area of responsibility from Kuwait to U.S. Forces in Iraq, Afghanistan and other countries within the region. Aside from providing sustainment for these troops, the brigade is also overseeing the responsible drawdown of U.S. Forces in Iraq.
It's been said that an Army marches on its stomach and this is still true for the 21st century Soldier. Food service plays a crucial role in the overall sustainment mission. Without a ready supply of food, Soldiers would not be able to function at their full potential. For the 230th, Warrant Officer Edmund Okeke and Sergeant 1st Class James Case are the two food service advisors. Okeke said he and Case were in charge of ordering all "... beverages, (Meals Ready to Eat) for all coalition forces in Kuwait, and having to continuously inspect nine different dining facilities in Kuwait." These two are in charge of overseeing 96 different cooks that are on the duty roster for Kuwait facilities. During the transfer of authority, Okeke said, "It's a lot of information being passed." Okeke implied this proves just how busy the two of them will be over the span of the deployment.
The Property Book Office manages the primary hand receipts of subordinate units to the 230th and ensures they are balanced against the Modified Table of Organization and Equipment. The Property Book Office also handles all lateral transfers of equipment and make sure there is proper accountability of the items. Every month they must ensure the company commanders receive a copy of the property book, and an inventory of the sensitive items. These listings must be signed and returned by the end of the month. These tasks can be quite the challenge when the actual items are spread out over the entire region. Constant communication with subordinate units and monthly hands-on inventories play a crucial role in this part of the operation. In addition, the 230th must keep accurate records of all items in the region, especially while retrograding materials from Iraq back to stateside ports.
The S-4 supports the subordinate units with general supply requests, Financial Liability Investigations of Property Loss, Army Direct Ordering, Purchase Request and Contracts, Command Supply Disciple Program, and the Government Purchase Card program. The brigade visits each support battalion and provides assistance for all areas of supply. From uniforms to tank treads, these specialized Soldiers allow for the Army to get what it needs through official military supply channels, as well as through the civilian market. They also monitor and regulate the usage of general supplies within the brigade and subordinate units, ensuring proper measures are in place to prevent fraud, waste or abuse exist.
The 230th's area of responsibility is one of the largest logistical operations the Army has seen since Vietnam. The difference between then and now is not only apparent in the technologies available, but in the Soldiers themselves. More and more units are relying heavily on every member of the team, regardless of rank, to follow the mission through to a successful and responsible outcome.