War on Terrorism

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Iraq: Guard members saving money in drawdown

By Army Spc. Anthony Zane
362nd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

As the Iraq War draws down, remember the courage and the sacrifices from the top Second Gulf War books where Iraq War veterans tell you their story.

CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE ADDER, Iraq (11/15/11) – As the number of U.S. troops exiting Iraq increases, so has the amount of equipment that has been used to support their efforts here.

As efforts continue with the drawdown of Operation New Dawn, massive amounts of materials and equipment have been consolidated, separated, and redistributed through the Material Redistribution Team yard on Contingency Operating Base Adder.

"We are in the last phases of our cleanup of the MRT yard," said Army 1st Lt. Matthew D. Roskam, material redistribution team officer-in-charge, 1729th Field Support Maintenance Company, Maryland Army National Guard.

"Basically, everybody's excess [materials] that's built up over the past eight to 10 years here in Iraq, that's on nobody's property books, nobody owns it, comes here," said Roskam. "We recover it, sort it out by different demilitarization classes, which says if it's serviceable, unserviceable or repairable."

Materials brought to the yard are unloaded onto the ground and then separated by hand.

"We were non-stop for about three weeks straight," said Army Staff Sgt. George E. Adams, noncommissioned officer in charge of safety and the MRT yard, 1729th FSMC. "Every tenant on the COB was bringing stuff in. We had companies that were bringing anywhere between four and 15 flatbeds," said Adams.

For a time, support from other units to help move the containers was scarce.

"At one point we had a couple of the units supporting us with about eight or nine trucks," said Adams.

Then it got to the point that the MRT yard had one truck to move everything in the yard and it was running back and forth all night long, with Citizen-Soldiers working around the clock, just to meet the demand, said Adams.

"But we have some dedicated personnel who are hard-working and a great team," said Adams.

After the excess materials are sorted at the MRT yard, they are shipped to a warehouse in Kuwait.

"From there it either gets sent out to where it needs to be repaired, or it gets destroyed, recovered, and then redistributed to other areas of operation, like Afghanistan," said Roskam.

Whether destroying, repairing, or reusing the materials that process through the MRT yard, the end result is money saved.

"Anything that comes through this yard is essentially a gain back to the Army," said Roskam. "It's lost items that now have been recovered and it's saving money by not having to re-buy them, and that's saving tax dollars."

Even with the increased volume, fewer trucks, and shifts around the clock, Citizen-Soldiers have kept a positive attitude throughout.

"Motivation's been high because we're all working toward the same goal," said Roskam. "We're all going home."

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