MARINE CORPS LOGISTICS BASE ALBANY, Ga. --
Marine Corps Logistics Command Marines, civilian-Marines and contractors celebrated a milestone here Sept. 20 when they emptied the last container of military equipment returned from Iraq.
Their cheers stemmed from $52.2 million worth of redistributed gear back to Marine Corps operating forces and more than $5 million in financial credits during the Operation Iraqi Freedom reset project, according to Greg Satterfield, deputy director, Storage Operations Department, Distribution Management Center, LOGCOM.
When the Marine Corps began shifting operations from Iraq to Afghanistan, the containers started arriving here in August 2009, he said.
Col. Drexel Heard, director, DMC, applauded the LOGCOM team’s milestone and portrayed what he believed it meant for those involved.
“I think for the Marine Corps it means putting gear back into the hands of the warfighter,” he said. “To LOGCOM, the milestone is a sign of the tremendous amount of skills and capabilities we have here to support Marine Corps’ warfighting requirements in support of our nation’s call. We have all types of artisans, and can support local requirements and are prepared to deploy around the world to do these same types of jobs. It’s a proof of the skills that exist in LOGCOM are current, relevant and capable of achieving any task that can be assigned.”
The Supported Activities Supply System Retrograde Unit unloaded gear from the containers, identified the materials and processed them for redistribution, Satterfield said. Reusing the materials fell under three categories - items offered back as free issues to Marine Corps operating forces, or if not needed by those forces, offered back to the originating source of supply for financial credit under the Material Returns Program, or if excess and/or unserviceable, processed in accordance with the Defense Reutilization and Marketing Service excess property procedures.
LOGCOM receives financial credit for the items returned back to the originating source of supply and can levy them toward other requirements, Heard said.
“We emptied in the neighborhood of 2,400 containers,” Satterfield said. “The milestone for us was finally getting through all of the containers. We expect a similar effort to occur when we begin retrograding from Afghanistan. We have solid and proven processes in place when it occurs. This is the first time we’ve had this volume of containers here as far as I know. We stood up a container management team to physically handle the containers.”
The 20-foot-long containers returned held a variety of equipment ranging from High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle seat cushions, tools, printers, copiers and rapidly-procured items used by the Marine Corps for theater operations, Satterfield added.
“We had a lot of challenges executing this mission because of the volume of containers and limited physical storage,” he said.
To meet the reset project’s challenges, LOGCOM secured a local 260,000-square-foot facility off base to support sorting, identification and custodial accounting of the items, Satterfield noted.
“We started as a 40,000-square-foot warehouse operation and morphed to a 260,000-square-foot warehouse off site and three lots,” said Kelly Fisk, operations officer, Fleet Support Division, LOGCOM. “We moved from containers being opened across from a 40,000-square-foot warehouse to an open lot, then progressed into a container management lot with the use of yard dogs (a type of vehicle used to pull the container trailers) and trailers and container handling equipment-Kalmar container handler and forklifts.”
Master Sgt. Rolanda Bailey, staff noncommissioned officer-in-charge, SASSY Retrograde, described the milestone as the highlight of her tour.
“I was part of LOGCOM-Forward SASSY Retrograde when we were packing the containers in Iraq at Camp Al Taqaddam to send (the equipment) home and now I’m back here trying to find a home for it within the operating forces,” said the 43-year-old Marine who hails from Mobile, Ala.
Lance Cpl. Anthony Vagnini, 20, from Philadelphia, among the 25 SASSY Marines who helped inventory the gear, said he was equally ecstatic with the accomplishment.
“It makes me feel really proud of what I do,” said the FSD supply administration clerk. “I feel we play an important role in supporting the warfighter.”
Staff also handled wheeled and tracked military vehicles that couldn’t be put in containers.
According to Tommy Lamb, quality control work leader, FSD, the wheeled and tracked vehicles received quality-control checks when they arrived here from Iraq to determine what work needed to be done on them.