Providers operate largest material recovery team site in Iraq

Story and photos by Spc. Michael Camacho
139th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment
13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) Public Affairs

VICTORY BASE COMPLEX, Iraq — Mobile redistribution teams are spread throughout Iraq, able to move to any base to process retrograde materials for redistribution into the Army supply system.

Unlike other teams, Material Redistribution Team 3 stays at a fixed location at Victory Base Complex, Iraq, where units bring containers filled with cargo, said 1st Lt. Guadalupe Solano, the officer in charge of MRT 3 with the 812th Quartermaster Company, 260th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 15th Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary).

MRT 3 is the largest of the 18 teams throughout Iraq, and is responsible for the United States Division – Central area and the outlying forward operating bases around it, said Solano, a McAllen, Texas, native.

"Our mission here is to receive, identify and segregate excess serviceable and unserviceable materials from units leaving the theater of operations," said Solano. "This is to assist them in focusing on higher priority missions."

MRT 3 has recovered roughly $24 million worth of serviceable equipment within the six months it has operated, said Solano. The 812th QM Co. out of Harlingen, Texas, has managed the site since December, when it replaced an Air Force logistics readiness squadron.

MRT 3 is spearheading Operation Clean Sweep to support the responsible drawdown of U.S. forces from Iraq, said Solano. The MRT's mission also supports the redistribution of needed supplies in support of operations in Afghanistan, he said.

Roughly 80 percent of the items processed by MRT 3 are transported to Kuwait to be redistributed, said Solano. The remainders of the items are sent to a local supply support activity or to units that requested them, he said.

The MRT processes roughly 15, 20-foot containers a day, operating in 12-hour shifts, 24 hours a day, said Sgt. Juan Degollado, the container manager at the MRT 3 site with the 812th QM Co.

The speed of cargo processing can depend on the type of cargo in the container, said Degollado, a Brownsville, Texas, native, but the average time for processing a single 20-foot container is around an hour and a half to two hours.

"We might get some (containers) half full … and we might get some packed," he said.

Solano said his Soldiers and the Soldiers assigned from units within the 260th CSSB are dedicated to accomplishing the MRT's mission and daily objectives.

The amount of retrograde cargo is expected to increase as bases close and units redeploy without replacements, said Degollado.


news photo
news photo
Spc. Mario Perez, a Material Recovery Team 3 supply specialist with the 812th Quartermaster Company, 260th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 15th Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) and a McAllen, Texas, native, and Spc. Travis Fowler, a MRT 3 supply specialist with the 296th Transportation Company, 260th CSSB, 15th Sust. Bde., 13th SC(E) and a Charles Rest, S.C., native, process cargo in tri-wall containers at the MRT 3 site April 6 at Victory Base Complex, Iraq. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Michael Camacho)