Sorting equipment saving money in Iraq drawdown

By Spc. Anthony Zane, 362nd Mobile Public Affairs DetachmentNovember 9, 2011

Securing material at COB Adder, Iraq
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Cleaning up yard at COB Adder
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CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE ADDER, Iraq, Nov. 7, 2011 -- As the number of U.S. troops exiting Iraq increases, so has the amount of equipment that has been used to support their efforts here.

As efforts continue with the drawdown of Operation New Dawn, massive amounts of materials and equipment have been consolidated, separated, and redistributed through the Material Redistribution Team yard on Contingency Operating Base Adder, Nov. 2.

"We are in the last phases of our cleanup of the MRT yard," said 1st Lt. Matthew D. Roskam, material redistribution team officer-in-charge, 1729th Field Support Maintenance Company, Maryland Army National Guard.

"Basically, everybody's excess [materials] that's built up over the past eight to ten years here in Iraq, that's on nobody's property books, nobody owns it, comes here," said Roskam. "We recover it, sort it out by different demilitarization classes, which says if it's serviceable, unserviceable, or repairable."

Materials brought to the yard are unloaded onto the ground and then separated by hand.

"We were non-stop for about three weeks straight," said Staff Sgt. George E. Adams, noncommissioned officer in charge of safety and the MRT yard, 1729th FSMC. "Every tenant on the COB was bringing stuff in. We had companies that were bringing anywhere between four and fifteen flatbeds," said Adams.

For a time, support from other units to help move the containers was scarce.

"At one point we had a couple of the units supporting us with about eight or nine trucks," said Adams.

Then it got to the point that the MRT yard had one truck to move everything in the yard and it was running back and forth all night long, with Soldiers working around the clock, just to meet the demand, said Adams.

"But we have some dedicated personnel who are hard-working and a great team," said Adams.

After the excess materials are sorted at the MRT yard they are shipped to a warehouse in Kuwait.

"From there it either gets sent out to where it needs to be repaired, or it gets destroyed, recovered, and then redistributed to other areas of operation, like Afghanistan," said Roskam.

Whether destroying, repairing, or reusing the materials that process through the MRT yard, the end result is money saved.

"Anything that comes through this yard is essentially a gain back to the Army," said Roskam. "It's lost items that now have been recovered and it's saving money by not having to re-buy them, and that's saving tax dollars."

Even with the increased volume, fewer trucks, and shifts around the clock, Soldiers have kept a positive attitude throughout.

"Motivation's been high because we're all working toward the same goal," said Roskam. "We're all going home."

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