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Marines assist U.S. Army, send construction materials from Iraq to Afghanistan

US Marine Corps News

9/30/2009 By Cpl. M. M. Bravo , Combat Logistics Regiment 27 (FWD)

Within the Marine Corps supply system, there are 10 categories called ‘classes’ that are used to distinguish between different types of material and equipment. Class IV, for example, consists of fortification materials, obstacle and barrier materials, and construction materials for building and maintaining a base’s infrastructure.

When the military began construction on bases in Iraq after Operation Iraqi Freedom began, Class IV building materials were in high demand and in turn, the lots that were being used to store the materials grew exponentially. Now that the U.S. military is drawing down its equipment and forces, there is very little need for construction materials. Recently, 15 Marines with Combat Logistics Regiment 27 (Forward) began assisting the Army in shutting down the Class IV lot aboard Al Asad Air Base and sending the materials to units in Afghanistan or back to the states.

The lot, which covers 88.8 acres of the base, is currently holding Class IV materials that add up to roughly $43 million that could easily fill 600-700 shipping containers. Many types of construction materials can be found there such as lumber, electronics, plumbing equipment and HESCO barrier materials.

The Marines started helping out in September 2009 and the lot is on schedule to be emptied by the end of October 2009.

The closing of the lot is just one more step toward reducing the U.S. military’s footprint in Iraq.

“This lot is basically like a Home Depot,” said Cpl. Jean-Denis Eliscar, a supply administration clerk with 2nd Maintenance Battalion, who is attached to Combat Logistics Battalion 46, CLR-27 (Fwd) to help with closing the lot.

Tasks that need to be completed include emptying shipping containers, ensuring the containers are ready for travel, reorganizing materials, repacking the shipping containers, and conducting an inventory.

“It’s a tremendous undertaking,” said Master Gunnery Sgt. Edward E. Mallas, the future operations officer for CLB-46. “But the Marines are hitting hard and really applying themselves,” Mallas said. “They’re working well with their Army counterparts.”

Working as a team, the Marines and soldiers are successfully preparing materials to be sent to their fellow service members serving in support of Operation Enduring Freedom to improve their living conditions.

Once the materials designated for OEF are properly packed in shipping containers and labeled, trucks are brought in, loaded, and taken to Joint Base Balad, where they are then shipped to Afghanistan.

“With the right amount of transportation, we can move things out of here to support OEF and all of our fellow service members, and meet our deadline,” said Army Sgt. Michael E. Lawhead, a shift leader at the Class IV Depot.

When the lot is empty, it will be re-designated as the base sees fit for future operations and the Marines will continue to assist in the drawdown of U.S. forces in Iraq, wherever they are needed.

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