By Ms. Jennifer Leigh King (AMC)June 5, 2008
SECKENHEIM, Germany-The 3rd Battalion of the 405th Army Field Support Brigade (AFSB) is supporting a U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) mission to Burma (also known as the Union of Myanmar), which recently suffered severe devastation from Tropical Cyclone Nargis. The cyclone made landfall on May 2 to the west of Rangoon in the Irrawaddy River Deltawith winds of approximately 132 miles per hour with a storm surge of 12 feet.
In response to the storm's damage, USAID's Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance contacted the 3/405th AFSB, located at Camp Darby, Italy, and requested immediate support for the shipment of humanitarian supplies to the region. The 3/405th AFSB is responsible for the storage, maintenance and shipment of USAID humanitarian supplies under an interagency agreement between the U.S. State Department and the U.S. Army.
Lt. Col. Harvey Robinson, commander of the 3/405th AFSB, is proud of his battalion's involvement in the USAID mission.
"Knowing that what we do here is directly supporting people in need thousands of miles away is very humbling," Robinson explained. "We are very proud that our work helps to relieve their suffering to some degree."
Alberto Chidini, 3/405th AFSB director of supply, calls the interagency agreement a natural partnership.
"We are experts in pre-positioned materiel management, and USAID needs the ability to react rapidly to crises," he said. "We apply our skills to their needs on a reimbursable basis, making this a mutually supportive arrangement."
The initial shipment requested by USAID included 1,800 rolls of plastic sheeting, 46,800 10-liter collapsible water containers, 3,000 5-gallon collapsible water containers and two LMS water treatment units, which the 3/405th AFSB promptly pulled from storage warehouses and prepared for immediate shipment to the disaster area.