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Reconstitution of materials supports fight, saves money

by Airman 1st Class Scott Saldukas
407th Air Expeditionary Group Public Affairs

10/5/2009 - ALI BASE, Iraq (AFNS) -- Members of the 407th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron here began to prepare for the drawdown of servicemembers serving in Iraq by starting to reconstitute their materials and equipment here.

Soon after arriving in June, members of the 407th ECES completed an inventory of all items from expandable shelters down to the hand-tool level, and then began reconstituting as many items to Afghanistan while still being able to perform their mission here.

"Based on the drawdown guidance, we knew it would be imperative that we start the reconstitution efforts immediately after hitting the ground in June of this year," said Lt. Col. Derek Scott who is deployed from Shaw Air Force Base, S.C. "Every item that we could safely afford to reconstitute or redeploy to Afghanistan was coordinated with the U.S. Air Force Central Command forward civil engineer."

Being able to prioritize and balance what work we have to do within the squadron and efficiently begin the reconstitution process is important for them, said Chief Master Sgt. Dennis LaClaire.

Getting an early jump on the process will not only save money, but also will save time and manpower by the end of the drawdown.

"Over $7 million worth of items from Ali Base are being distributed to various locations based on a theater priority set by the Air Force forward civil engineer," Colonel Scott said. "This effort is on-going and I anticipate by mid-December we'll have 90 percent of our redeployable assets shipped out."

Reconstituting items allows the squadron to consolidate items and space that is only deemed necessary. Having outdated facilities that won't be reconstituted have been removed from the inventory but are being targeted to move into for consolidation purposes.

"Fewer items means less personnel necessary to maintain them," said Colonel Scott who hails from Little Rock, Ark. "That frees up other assets for repackaging and when the time comes for the last Airman to get on a plane, we can definitely leave a lot easier. Because the civil engineers are operating at critically stressed tempo, we have to look at every piece of material and make sure they are absolutely necessary."

Some of the items have already been delivered and were able to support the build-up of bases in Afghanistan, said the chief who is deployed from Vandenberg AFB, Calif.

"Throughout this process, we are able to tell our Airmen that along with saving taxpayers money our extra assets here are able to support the Air Forces mission in other places that we might be stationed at later in our career," said the native of Minneapolis, Minn.

Upon reviewing their projects and processes they identified enough solar runway and taxiway lights to be able to light an entire remote airfield in Afghanistan.

"In addition to those lights, our team has plans next month to recapture solar lights made available by an on-going runway upgrade project. These solar lights will be sent to a location based on theater priorities," Colonel Scott said. "Overall our goal is to have every item that we can possibly do without repackaged and forwarded to Afghanistan before the end of this rotation to aid in the fight and make it easier on the last Airmen here."

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