80th Ord. Bn. hosts amnesty day

Story by Army Spc. John Stimac
139th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

JOINT BASE BALAD, Iraq — The 80th Ordnance Battalion sponsored a base- wide amnesty day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 12. at the turn-in yard at Joint Base Balad, Iraq.

Amnesty day was a jump start to Operation Clean Sweep, assisted by a team that coordinates with all units on JBB to assist in removing unwanted inventory from Iraq.

Capt. Daniel A. Simons, the support operations plans officer in charge of the 80th, said the amnesty day was the brainchild of the unit’s commander, Lt. Col. Christopher Mohan, and Maj. Michelle K. Donahue, the unit’s support operations officer, who looked to the future and recognized a need for such an event.

“We want to reach out to all the units and say that ‘we want to help you out,’” said Simons, a Missoula, Mont., native. “Some companies don’t even want to wait till Sept. 12. They want to start sending their unwanted inventory items now.”

According to a release by the 80th Ord. Bn., amnesty day offered all personnel on JBB an opportunity to turn in any supply item – excluding personal demand and medical items – ranging from ammunition to unwanted Meals Ready to Eat. Water and bulk fuel were not accepted, according to the release.

Simons said the items could not be on the units’ property books.

“These items will be logged properly into the supply system and if anyone is in need of them, the items will go to that unit,” said Simons. “If they are junk, they will go to the defense reutilization and management office to get dumped. The object is to make sure it gets turned in the right way in order to save the taxpayers money.”

The 80th Ord. Bn. tasked Soldiers to carry on this new mission and ensure it is functional on all sides by Sept.12.

Sgt. 1st Class Diana Southard, the 23rd Ordnance Company Headquarters platoon sergeant, and noncommissioned officer in charge of the amnesty day operation, said the coming days hold a lot of training on basic supply functions for the Soldiers tasked with this mission.

“In the next few days we will hit the crawl/walk phase,” said Southard, a Nedford, Ore., native. “After the first operation, we will be able to tell how soon the team will hit the running phase. With the good NCOs I have seen in this group, I have lots of confidence this is going to be a success.”

Simons said the group conducted a dry run prior to the 12th as part of their training.

Amnesty day was a direct response to the call for the responsible drawdown of U.S. forces and equipment in Iraq by Multi-National Corps-Iraq. Southard said the mission is one of the most proactive operations of the drawdown.

“It not only supports the winning of hearts and minds of the Iraqi people to see that they are gaining control of their nation and we are not leaving a mess for them to clean up,” said Southard, “but we are also showing our family and friends back home that we are, in fact, withdrawing troops and equipment in the most responsible way.”