Operation Clean Sweep sweeps through JBB

Story and photos by Spc. John Stimac
139th MPAD

JOINT BASE BALAD, Iraq — Two units under the 80th Ordnance Battalion conducted base-wide cleanup for a project named Operation Clean Sweep at Joint Base Balad, Iraq, to further the responsible drawdown of U.S. forces in Iraq.

Members of the 514th Maintenance Company and the 699th Maintenance Company assisted units across JBB in keeping the base clean.

First Lt. Jeffrey A. Kromm, a platoon leader with the 514th Maint. Co. said his team is coordinating with all units on JBB to assist them with getting unwanted inventory out of Iraq.

“We help these units clean out their area of operations,” said Kromm. “Some of these surplus items have been here since 2003 and we coordinate what the units want to get rid of.”

The Soldier responsible for coordinating the actual removal of the containers is Sgt. Dajuan D. Jackson, an armament and repair specialist with the 699th.

“We gather parts that the units don’t want on their property books and inspect them; if serviceable they are sent to the forward redistribution point; if not they go to the defense reutilization and management office to get dumped,” said Jackson. “I fill out a transportation movement request, set a date, make sure the move gets coordinated quickly and augment Soldiers from the 159th Seaport Operations Command.”

Sgt. Kenneth James, an ammunition specialist with the 23rd Ordnance Company and a Maple Hill, N.C. native, said dealing with hazardous materials is more challenging than other jobs, which is why he had to take the HAZMAT class here to perform his duty to standard.

“HAZMAT items have a lot of rules,” said James. “If they are not past their expiration date they can be moved to the corps storage area. If they are past the expiration date or damaged they get palletized and taken to HAZMAT. We want to be careful with the HAZMAT items and take every precaution necessary because we are a guest of the nation of Iraq.”

Pfc. Jeremiah Carley, a supply specialist with the 514th Maint. Co., and his team assist and supervise units in the proper disposition of HAZMAT.

“You have to know which HAZMAT items can go together in the same container and which ones can’t,” Carley said.

Re-usable Items are redistributed throughout JBB, said Kromm.

“We are redistributing what we can, and what we can’t we are moving out of theater,” he said.

James said results are slowly being seen around JBB.

“I believe we’re making an impact in regards to the drawdown,” he said. “The beginning is a long process, but after that it seems to be flowing smoothly.”