By Summer BarkleySeptember 29, 2011
BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan (September 29)--United States Customs inspectors came to the 401st Army Field Support Brigade loaded with guns and knives, lethal playing cards, fighting stars, furs and brass knuckles for a training session for brigade personnel.
During the training conducted by Soldiers from the 45th Military Police Customs unit, brigade personnel got to see firsthand some items that are allowed or prohibited by U.S. Customs regulations. The training was important for brigade Soldiers who will be redeploying soon following their year-long deployment with 401st Army Field Support Brigade, part of Army Sustainment Command's global network.
"The purpose of the training is to inform both service members and civilians of U.S. Customs requirements when returning to the United States and U.S. Installations abroad," said Staff Sgt. Mark A. Slater, 45th MP Customs. "The training discusses prohibited and restricted items, procedures for returning restricted items such as automatic knives and antique firearms and individual customs procedures and inspections prior to actually flying out of the country."
"The customs training helped prepare me to redeploy without any problems," said Lt. Col. Charles K. Joines, 410st AFSB S-3 officer. "It gave me the information I need to ensure I have no customs violations."
"I would have to say the most common prohibited items that individuals attempt to take back are trademark violation items such as pirated DVDs, purses and watches," Slater said.
While Slater spoke, Spc. Mark B. Grupe, 45th MP Customs, held up various items, some legal and some prohibited, so people could see exactly what is allowed and what is prohibited.
"The training aids were a real value," Joines said. "There was little room for ambiguity."
"The vast majority are more than happy to comply with customs regulations. Most personnel, by the time they get to customs, are so happy to be going home that they more than willing to meet the customs standards," Slater said.
Joines is an Army Reserve Soldier from Daleville, Ala. who has been deployed with the 401st AFSB for a year. He will be redeploying soon and return to his Department of Army civilian job as a logistics management specialist working as a combat developer in the Aviation Logistics Branch, Training and Doctrine Command Program Office Aviation Brigades, U.S, Army Aviation Center of Excellence, Fort Rucker, Ala.