By Sgt. Gregory WilliamsOctober 10, 2012
FORWARD OPERATING BASE SHANK, Afghanistan - Deployed to one of the most dangerous areas in Afghanistan, a movement control detachment resupplies hundreds of troops in the field. Every morning, soldiers with 622nd Movement Control Detachment round up Afghan drivers so cargo can be delivered. The cargo each driver has ranges from food for the dining facility to mission critical equipment.
As the unit deals with frequent insurgent attacks and working with a hundreds of drivers each week, the resolve of the soldiers are tested on a daily basis.
The 622nd MCT works with Afghan drivers and contractors to supply soldiers on Forward Operating Base Shank other surrounding FOBs.
"I find my job fulfilling because we're able to resupply units and bring good news to customers when we call them with a delivery," said Staff Sgt. Jamahl Stanford, a ground yard noncommissioned officer in charge with the 622nd MCT. "Even after major attacks we're still able to supply other FOBs as well."
When cargo is delivered to the ground yard, the 622nd MCT notifies the carrier who ordered the delivery to make sure customers receive their loads in a timely manner.
On a weekly basis, the 622nd MCT moves more than 40 tons of cargo a weekthrough their ground yard.
Being the life line for the base does have its perks as the transportation soldiers interact with other units and contractors.
"All cargo comes through here and we have to deal with virtually everybody on the base," Stanford said. "The good thing about our mission is being able to see the post-exchange truck firsthand, which we get to shop before everyone else as a reward for our hard work."
Stanford said customers are immediately notified when their cargo is delivered and if the loads aren't picked up, Afghan drivers are paid more money for compensation by the U.S. government.
"We're trying to help our government not waste anymore tax dollars by eliminating any demurrage costs," said Sgt. Jacob I. Sherman, a movement noncommissioned officer with the 622nd MCT,. "As long as the U.S. government doesn't have to pay any extra unnecessary costs, we're doing our job."
Sherman said undelivered cargo hurts both the drivers and soldiers, which pushes him to make sure cargo is picked up.
"I'll harass the customers to make sure the job gets done," Sherman said. "Some customers will try to pick up a truck later, but I'll find a way to make them come here to pick up the load."
Stanford recounted how one truck was left in the yard for a week and because it wasn't picked up, all the food it carried spoiled, which could've fed hundreds of Soldiers.
"One of the problems we have is having trucks sit out in our yard for weeks or months at a time," Standford said. "At one time we had 150 trucks at a stand-still in our yard. All we can do is receive cargo in our yard," Stanford said.
Standford said the unit knows once the cargo is picked up it will be put to good use supplying soldiers who're in the battlefield.
"We see the impact we have on other units from supplies to the T-Walls," Stanford said. "We have a lot of eyes on our operation and to have the command entrust a 20 man detachment to resupply other FOBs is kind of a big deal."
As the sustainers continue to work with Afghans, contractors and other units, Sherman said they realize the importance of their role.
"It's gratifying to know that we're the central hub for resupplying the FOB, which strengthens my resolve in our mission," Sherman said. "All we're trying to do is exceed the standard."