Operation Clean Sweep saves more than $59 million
By Staff Sgt. Rob Strain
15th Sustainment Brigade Public Affairs
FORT HOOD, Texas — Operation Clean Sweep, an Army-wide effort to turn in and redistribute unneeded or unusable supply items, has saved the Army more than $59 million so far at Fort Hood.
The estimate accounts for all the equipment recovered from units and returned to the Army supply system between January and April, said Capt. McFerrin McDonald, with the 15th Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary)’s general supply office.
The 15th Sustainment Brigade, which led the effort here, moved more than 5,000 pallets comprising more than 600 truckloads of equipment from 41 different Fort Hood units, McDonald said.
“Everyone has a part,” he said.
Although several companies originally contributed to the effort, the mission now rests primarily with the Special Troops Battalion’s 565th Quartermaster Company.
Soldiers from the 565th have been working two 8-hour shifts sorting, identifying, transporting and processing equipment from different units daily for the last four months, said Sgt. Cecil Smith, one of the Clean Sweep noncommissioned officers from the 565th.
Smith said there were even a few weeks in March where the unit worked around the clock to deal with the large amount of equipment in an effort to meet the Fort Hood commanding general’s deadline for completion of the operation.
“[There was] so much stuff coming in,” Smith said. “We couldn’t get stuff processed fast enough.”
The teams were processing equipment from up to three brigade-sized units at a time during the peak of the operation, Smith said.
According to 2nd Lt. Sandis Sullivan, the Clean Sweep officer in charge from the 565th, the biggest part of the operation is wrapping up, and it is moving to become an enduring mission by requiring the units to go through the process prior to as well as shortly after deployment.
Prior to Clean Sweep, the turn in of old or broken equipment was left to the rear detachment personnel when the unit deployed, Sullivan said.
The turn in process was so complex, and the paperwork required was different for every turn in agency, that many units just placed the equipment into a storage container, McDonald added.
During Clean Sweep, mobile teams from the 565th streamlined the process for the units, making the paperwork and turn in process easier, he said.
“Clean Sweep opened up the doors and made it easier to turn in,” McDonald said.
But it hasn’t been easy, Sullivan said.
“There have been a lot of growing pains,” he said.
The unit spent a lot of time incorporating different things to find out what worked and what didn’t, Sullivan said, and the 15th SB’s support operations worked with different agencies to break down as many of the obstacles as possible.
Transportation was a big hurdle as well, he added.
The 565th had to rely on other units, such as the 418th Transportation Company, to get the equipment from the customer units and bring it to the Clean Sweep yard, he said.
Now, Sullivan explained, the 565th has the lead and is conducting the entire process, including transportation.
Their next big push will be to lead the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment through the process in the coming weeks.
The 565th is scheduled to move to the 4th Sustainment Brigade later this summer under the 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary)’s Provider Shift, but according to Sullivan, the company will continue the Clean Sweep process for Fort Hood’s customers.
Equipment turned in during Operation Clean Sweep sits in the 289th Quartermaster Company motor pool June 3. The equipment is being processed and turned in, so it can be redistributed across the Army, wherever it is needed. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Rob Strain, 15th Sustainment Brigade Public Affairs)
Sgt. Robin McBain, truck driver, 418th Transportation Company, raises the landing gear on a trailer containing equipment for turn-in June 3 at the 289th Quartermaster Company's motor pool. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Rob Strain, 15th Sustainment Brigade Public Affairs)