By Pamela ProperNovember 5, 2011
CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait -- When an Army truck battery dies it often ends up in the junk yard because it is deemed unserviceable. And, while nobody likes a dead battery, as many as 50 percent that are thrown out can be recharged.
Michael Rogers, a mechanic at Anniston Army Depot, located in Alabama, deployed to Kuwait with the Tank Automotive-Armament Command in support of Operation New Dawn. His mission, with TACOM's Forward Repair Activity, is to recover as many batteries as possible.
"We have, to date, received 21,673 batteries into the shop. We have recovered and re-issued 9,500. That is a cost avoidance of about $3,843,679. Right now we have 8,300 in process at the shop and we also are absorbing all drawdown batteries from Iraq as they enter Kuwait," Rogers said.
Before a battery can be disposed of, it must be properly tested and charged. Then a determination is made on whether it is serviceable or unserviceable.
Batteries that are deemed unserviceable are processed as hazardous materials and destroyed. But many can be reutilized and that is what Rogers and his colleague Dennis Hinds do. They inspect, sort and recharge pallet-loads of batteries and send them back to units.
"This battery has a unit cost of $402.44. We operate on a one-for-one swap out with the units so there is no cost to the units," said Rogers.
The two men get a feeling of fulfillment from the job.
"This mission to me is a gratifying assignment. First, because it had never been done at this scale so it was a challenge to get up and running. Also, this is saving the Army money and you are able to control and manage the flow of batteries that are coming into the shop to ensure proper disposition for the army to avoid not getting all the life out the batteries," Rogers said.
"We have shipped batteries to Afghanistan and Iraq. By us doing what we are, that's over $3,000,000 that can be used for other projects," Rogers said.
The batteries are used in all tactical vehicle platforms, from tanks to trucks. They receive almost 1,000 monthly at Camp Arifjan, so turning them around is critical in keeping Soldiers on the road and saving money for the Army.