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Redistribution team facilitates drawdown order

by Airman 1st Class Allison M. Boehm
332nd Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

1/15/2010 - JOINT BASE BALAD, Iraq (AFNS) -- In less than a year, the United States military is scheduled to execute the responsible drawdown of nearly 150,000 troops from Iraq. The troop exodus requires the consignment of cargo, vehicles, supplies and other war fighting equipment used in deployed locations.

Joint Base Balad's redistribution property assistance team is one of seven in Iraq. They relieve demobilizing units in the local area of excess theater-provided equipment. In doing so, the RPAT reestablishes accountability, enables asset visibility of the received equipment and allocates transportation methods for the flagged provisions.

"We take possession of the equipment that the unit will not be returning with, find disposition for that equipment and ship it to where it is supposed to be going as safely and quickly as possible," said Tech. Sgt. Michael Marrero, 732nd Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron lead inspector and yard boss of the RPAT yard.

As U.S. servicemembers prepare to turn over the country of Iraq to its citizens, the equipment that is turned in to the RPAT yard must be shipped out. The yard, which has been in operation for the past three years, has shipped thousands of pieces of equipment to many different locations.

"This is a vital stop for the forward movement of all assets into Afghanistan," said Sergeant Marrero. "We help ensure the warfighter gets these assets as soon as possible, and if we can avoid sending this equipment on lengthy trips back to the United States then we would like to do so."

Still, Airmen and Soldiers find that some equipment must be sent to depots in the United States for repair before being sent to the front line. Inspectors check for cleanliness while ensuring vehicles meet the standards required for its set destination, verify serial numbers and ensure all hazardous material is removed.

"The inspectors help ensure that the vehicles are fully mission-capable and good to go for reassignment to the OEF," said Staff Sgt. Marvin Montenegro, 732nd ELRS data entry technician. "The criteria we check for here helps ensure future mission success."

JBB's RPAT yard, which is open 24 hours a day, functions as a main supplier of war-fighting equipment to OEF, but its mission has helped ensure the presidential mandate of a responsible drawdown of forces from Iraq.

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