By 2nd Lt. Henry ChanOctober 28, 2012
KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan - The commander of the United States Transportation Command, Gen. William M. Fraser III, visited the Kandahar Airfield Retrosort Yard on Oct. 21.
As the headquarters for the CENTCOM Materiel Recovery Element, the 593rd Sustainment Brigade, commanded by Col. Douglas McBride, provides operational control over the 18th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, commanded by Lt. Col. Michelle Letcher, to operate the KAF RSY along with RSYs located in Bagram Airfield and Camp Pratt.
The 45th Sustainment Brigade from Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, established the yard in December 2011 and transitioned the responsibility to the 18th CSSB in July.
For the few months prior to civilian contracted workers joining the workforce, soldiers of the 45th SB from Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, the 18th CSSB of Grafenwöhr, Germany, the 113th Special Troops Battalion of the North Carolina National Guard and the 427th Brigade Support Battalion from the New York National Guard worked together to clear up one of the central hubs for logistics output.
In September, civilian contractors from Dyncorp arrived to supplement the labor in the KAF RSY.
As the retrosort yard fusion cell supervisor, 427th BSB intelligence officer Capt. Seth Burgess controls the operations of all three retrosort facilities in Afghanistan.
He says that "with the 593rd and the 18th, we have been able to synchronize the RSYs in the country ... the main function to the RSY is to sort and send materiel out depending on if will be sent to the military unit locally or (needed elsewhere), so we ship it out. That is where transportation comes in."
As an origin point of many shipments, the retrosort yard naturally peaked Fraser's interest. The general asked a plethora of questions as CMRE officers led him on a tour of the facility. He used this opportunity to visually understand the retrosort operations and how they feed into the larger transportation aspects of the mission in Afghanistan.
18th CSSB support operations transportation noncommissioned officer Sgt. Graham Allison had the opportunity to illustrate the transportation-related aspects of materiel flow to the general.
Sgt. Allison said that "it was nice that our leadership is coming to see us 'guys on the ground.' It was a great chance for us to show (Gen. Fraser) our capabilities and needs to better our mission."
At the end of the tour, Burgess summarized the visit saying, "These visits from generals are great for providing us with better insight on large scale decisions. We don't get a chance to really understand the decision making process, the importance of joint agencies and capabilities."