By Staff Sgt. Michael Behlin June 5, 2012
BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan (June 5, 2012) -- Since their change of mission, Soldiers of the 233rd Transportation Company have been busily involved in the retrograde process.
With the end of United States combat role in Afghanistan quickly approaching, the retrograde process, which involves the movement of equipment and material from a deployed theater to another theater of operations to replenish unit stocks, will be a major topic of discussion in the near future.
While the process has begun and will continue until complete, there is a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes before equipment is actually shipped out of country. One of the processes related to the retrograde mission involves searching and clearing vehicles of ammunition, in which Soldiers of the 233rd Trans. Co. are spearheading.
"What we do is insure that every vehicle is free of ammunition and explosives," said Sgt. James Dixon, a motor transport operator with the 233rd Trans. Co. who's now working as a member of the munitions abatement team. "We do a thorough check of the vehicle and its' hotspots to make sure it's safe to move to its next destination."
The process to sterilize vehicles of munitions is one that is both rigorous and thorough. This involves checking a vehicles exterior, interior, cargo bed, compartments and turrets, to name a few.
If ammunition is found, it is then consolidated and turned in to the proper authorities, unless it is found to be unstable. Munitions found to be unstable must then be properly handled by explosive ordnance disposal.
"Making sure vehicles are clear is important because it's a key part of safety," said Spc. Adrian Smith of the 233rd Trans. Co. "If ammunition is left in a vehicle, someone could possibly get hurt. All in all, we are all trying to make it back home, safety is the key."