By Spc. Bradley J. Wancour, Third Army/ARCENT Public AffairsSeptember 9, 2011
By Spc. Bradley J. Wancour
Third Army/ARCENT Public Affairs
CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait -- The U.S. Coast Guard Redeployment Assistance and Inspection Detachment is dedicated to helping units get their containers back to the U.S. as quickly and safely as possible.
Moving large containers in such large numbers comes with inherent risks, that if not mitigated could cause disaster.
"On the freighters, containers are stacked five, eight or ten high," said Petty Officer 1st Class Rodger Springsteen, RAID inspector and native of Alameda, Calif. "If any one of the containers is weak, it could tip the whole stack and capsize the ship."
In addition to insuring the structural integrity of the container, the RAID guides and assists units in the handling and storage of hazardous materials within the containers, explained Springsteen.
"We also assist them with labeling the container properly, to avoid being delayed in port and incurring thousands of dollars in fines," said Springsteen.
While the RAID's command group is here, only five of its 27 personnel are in the Kuwait office at any given time. The rest are stationed throughout Afghanistan and Iraq to better assist redeploying units, said Lt. Cmdr. James B. Suffern, RAID commander.
RAID personnel are ready and willing to go where they are needed in order to help any unit, from any branch, get their containers home quickly.
"My personnel can be on a plane in six hours, ready to go wherever they are needed," Suffern added. "If we can help troops get their gear home early, that's a successful mission for us."
The RAID mission is not so easy, and so only the best guardsmen are selected.
RAID's doors are open to any guardsmen who wish to apply, each of which are recommended by their commander and are subject to an interview before they are selected.
The process to be selected for the one year special assignment to RAID is rigorous, ensuring that only the best make it, said Chief Warrant Officer Michael Cleary, RAID operations officer and a native of Chicago.
"Anywhere from 75 to 100 reservists apply to RAID; only 10 are selected," Cleary added. "The other members are all active duty."
"In my normal job I am an electronics technician," said Springsteen.
Despite having only a small number of personnel, RAID works hard to support Third Army by expediting containers on their way back to the U.S.
"RAID is really the only way for the Coast Guard to get out to Afghanistan and Iraq," said Springsteen. "We are all proud to be here doing our part to get our troops home."
With help of units like RAID, Third Army is working to expedite the redeployment process while ensuring safety and efficiency.