By 1st Lt. Billy Murphy, 2nd Advise and Assist Brigade, 1st Infantry DivisionAugust 11, 2011
BAGHDAD, Aug. 11, 2011 -- Soldiers with Company B, “Griffin” Special Troops Battalion, 2nd Advise and Assist Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, United States Division - Center conducted a thorough cleaning of their assigned theater-provided equipment, July 28, at Camp Liberty, Iraq, in preparation for turn in.
The end of the mission for the remaining American Soldiers in Iraq also marks the end of mission for some of the greatest workhorses of the conflict -- the theater-provided equipment, or TPE, that has been handed down from unit to unit since their arrival to the country in 2003. With the 2nd AAB currently scheduled to be one of the final U.S. units in Iraq, all the accumulated gear must be dealt with.
TPE has stayed in the country, even as units have come and gone. Typically, an outgoing unit transferred the equipment over to the incoming unit that replaced it. In Baghdad, this cycle comes close to ending with the Dagger Brigade, and the equipment must be cleaned, inventoried and turned in for a long-overdue refurbishment.
“We have a ten-kilowatt generator that has been running 24 hours a day for the past nine months and it is very reliable,” said 1st Lt. Christopher Hoff, a platoon leader with Company B, “Griffin” Special Troops Battalion, 2nd AAB, 1st Inf. Div., USD-C. “When you think that this generator has been in country since 2003 running pretty much constantly, for eight years, it is very impressive.”
Years of constant service does not come without a price, however. Some of the TPE is broken, has seen too much wear and tear to be useful, or has been replaced by newer equipment brought over by units. These broken and obsolete pieces of equipment are the first to be turned in, as they no longer contribute to the mission. That which is still fully mission-capable must still be turned in, but the process is a little more involved.
The amount of dust, dirt, and caked-on oil that can accumulate over the years can be significant, and must be cleaned for the equipment to be accepted for turn in.
“To meet the standard, it takes about six hours to thoroughly clean a generator and twelve or more hours to clean a vehicle,” said Staff Sgt. Brian Beachy, a nodal network systems operator and maintainer with Company B, STB.
One of the final steps in the turn-in process is a joint inventory and inspection conducted between Army civilian contractors and the unit itself. Once the equipment has passed the inspection, it is signed over to the civilian contractors and out of the unit’s hands.
The equipment is then either be sent back to the U.S. for refurbishment, or -- if it is fully mission capable -- to another conflict zone, such as Afghanistan, where it will continue serving American forces reliably.