By Sgt. Kimberly HackbarthMarch 21, 2013
FORWARD OPERATING BASE ZANGABAD, Afghanistan - As soldiers of 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, Combined Task Force 4-2 (4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division) reached the halfway point in their deployment, they realized they had equipment on their base that they were not using and could turn in.
The normal process of returning retrograde or unused items is to take them back to the Redistribution Property Assistance Team yard on Kandahar Airfield.
However, thanks to Mobile RPATs and Package Acceptance Assistance Teams, the process of turning equipment in is easier for units on remote bases, such as 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment's Capt. Reed Timme, the logistics officer for 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, is in charge of monitoring everything turned in by the unit.
"By them coming out here to the customer, if you will, we have more people out here that we can dedicate to laying property out, to turning in," said Timme, an Avon, Conn., native. "Basically, we are their only customer out here, so we get their sole attention and their focus."
The battalion is turning in approximately 438 items, to include 10 pieces of rolling stock such as mine resistant ambush protected vehicles, according to Timme.
"It runs a gamut from smaller items up to the size of an MRAP, but just excess equipment that we don't use on a regular basis but it's all on our [property] books," said Timme.
Curtis McIver, the master supply technician for the mobile RPAT, from Rockingham, N.C., said the mobile RPATs are just a mirror image of what is done at the RPAT yard on Kandahar Airfield.
"We just go out to remote FOBs to relieve units of accountability," he said.
Planning starts 120 days out from when the unit wants to turn in its excess items, said McIvers. The Mobile RPATs brief units on what is required in order for the team to go to the base.
The Mobile RPAT checks back with the unit 90 days out to make sure everything is on track to be turned in.
The PAAT arrives approximately a week before the Mobile RPAT to ensure that soldiers have all of their equipment turn-in paperwork filled out correctly. According to McIvers, PAATs developed last year in Regional Command-South, Afghanistan. The Mobile RPATs follow behind the PAATs and conduct layouts of all equipment being turned in by the unit and then sign for the equipment. The unit then moves the items to Kandahar Airfield and is fully relieved of responsibility for the equipment.
After weeks of preparation, the 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment soldiers turned in their extra equipment and signed it over to the Mobile RPAT. They can now focus more on their mission in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.