By Galen Putnam, 402nd AFSBJune 16, 2011
JOINT BASE BALAD, Iraq " The 402nd Army Field Support Brigade is often called upon to fulfill unique missions.
The organization’s latest endeavor to “fit a square peg into a round hole” involves fielding a Heavy Advise and Assist Brigade equipment set. Typically, units rotating into Iraq will fall in on the equipment left behind by the unit they are replacing. In this instance, however, an H-AAB is taking over for a Stryker AAB, which is configured much differently, and more lightly.
For this mission the 402nd AFSB has been charged to “make up the difference” in equipment between the two brigades by taking vehicles identified by U.S. Forces " Iraq that have been retrograded from Iraq to Kuwait and prepare them for return to Iraq as part of the new brigade set.
“The 402nd AFSB planned this operation from its infancy as a result of shortfalls identified during our internal mission analysis of replacing a Stryker brigade with a Heavy brigade,” said Maj. Pierre A. Spratt, 402nd AFSB Support Operations officer. “The 402nd as a whole, both Kuwait and Iraq, have forged this concept into reality. The execution of this mission has been flawless.”
Spratt went on to praise those working behind the scenes.
“It is truly amazing to see the results of all the hard work and dedication associated with this mission accomplishment,” he said. “The Materiel Enterprise has again provided unsurpassed logistical support to the Warfighter. The best part is, the Warfighter will never know it.”
Rather than rely on Strykers as their primary vehicle, the H-AAB relies on MRAPs, M115 High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles, M977 HEMMETS and other vehicles that are found in lesser numbers, or are not used by S-AABs.
The 402nd AFSB’s task is to receive, inspect, and repair the incoming vehicles identified to make up the new set, then maintain them until they reach their ultimate destination in Iraq.
Once vehicles have been prepared in Kuwait, they are convoyed to Joint Base Balad, Iraq, where they are segregated according to their final destination, inventoried, and inspected.
“This is the first time we have ever done something like this,” said Jean Hansen, 402nd AFSB deputy SPO. “There were many little things to manage, but the 402nd has done a magnificent job.”
The 402nd AFSB is now in the “issue” phase of the mission. After vehicles are checked and prepped at JBB, they are convoyed to their final destinations to await the incoming troops. In the meantime, representatives from the H-AAB are on hand to sign for the vehicles and relieve the 402nd AFSB of responsibility for the equipment.
“The Soldiers are depending on us to make sure their equipment is ready to go when they get here,” said Fredrick Smith, 402nd AFSB maintenance manager. “The important thing is that it will be transparent to the Soldiers.”