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Supply Supports the Drawdown in Iraq

Feb 16, 2010

By Staff Sgt. Rob Strain, 15th Sustainment Brigade Public Affairs

JOINT BASE BALAD, Iraq -- From an outside perspective, the Iraqi theater is just full of Army gear: equipment, supplies, parts, trucks, weapons, tools ... the list just keeps going.

But from a "boots on the ground" perspective of the 514th Support Maintenance Company, 80th Ordnance Battalion, 15th Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), it becomes clear that this mass of assets is tracked and inventoried, under the control of supply sections across the theater.

"The Army puts a lot of focus on property accountability, and my job as a supply sergeant for the 514th SMC is to carry this concept into our specific area of operations," said Sgt. Renee Messina, the company supply sergeant, originally from New York.

Upon entering theater, most units gain a large amount of theater provided equipment. For numerous reasons this equipment can become unusable, either through obsolescence or a shift in mission focus; many units will find that their inherited hand receipt contains plenty of equipment that can be turned in or relocated to meet the needs of another unit, explained Messina.

"We agreed right away that our unit had fallen into a lot of equipment that we couldn't imagine a need for - a short walk through containers and storage areas merely confirmed this," said 1st Lt. Jess Henry, 514th SMC's executive officer from Steamboat Springs, Colo.

The command team and supply section of the 514th SMC worked together closely to scrub 514th's TPE hand receipt and identified $4.5 million worth of equipment that was unnecessary to successfully execute its various missions, and even managed to locate and turn in an additional $2 million worth of unaccounted-for equipment, said Messina.

Through a long and sometimes tedious process, all of this equipment was turned in, thus making it available in the Army supply system or simply allowing it to be reset, repaired, or disposed of properly, as property sometimes becomes beyond repair, explained Messina.

"It's fantastic that everyone in the company buys into responsible drawdown. Every section was eager to support my intent of identifying equipment that didn't support our mission," said Capt. Christopher Tramontana, 514th SMC's commander and an Albany, N.Y., native.

The hard work and long hours that had been put into the process paid off instantly; the 514th only maintained the equipment that its missions dictated and nothing more, freeing space, time, and labor to focus on other tasks at hand, Messina said. This not only made the 514th SMC more apt to achieve mission success, but it also helped the Army retrograde equipment back sooner than later, supporting the responsible drawdown concept.

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