Joint effort increases efficiency of equipment drawdown
Story and Photo by Sgt. Keith S. VanKlompenberg
13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) Public Affairs
CONTINGENCY OPERATING LOCATION SPEICHER, Iraq — As the responsible drawdown of troops and equipment in Iraq draws near, the Corps Distribution Center at Contingency Operating Location Speicher, Iraq, has become a hub in the effort to move excess equipment out of Iraq.
The CDC, run by the 611th Seaport Operations Company, 264th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 15th Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), is responsible for processing excess cargo, containers and vehicles coming out of locations around northern Iraq, and preparing them to be moved to Contingency Operating Location Marez, Iraq, Joint Base Balad, Iraq, or locations in Kuwait.
"We've been getting a higher volume of equipment lately," said 1st Lt. Jonathan Ackley, the officer in charge of the CDC.
As the drawdown from Iraq begins, his yards will likely get busier, but his team works to increase efficiency and decrease the time it takes to move equipment, said Ackley, a Columbus, Ohio, native.
The biggest increase in workload and efficiency has been at the Joint Distribution Center, said Sgt. Alger Warthen, a cargo specialist and the noncommissioned officer in charge of the JDC.
"This is one of the most important yards in the CDC," he said. "We process all loose cargo that comes in from northern Iraq."
Warthen, a Jacksonville, Fla., native, said his team primarily separates cargo to be convoyed south, but recently started working with Airmen to palletize cargo that would move faster by air.
Two Airmen from the 509th Movement Control Team joined the JDC in November to assist in the movement of retrograde material, said Air Force 1st Lt. Jason C. Henry, commander of the 509th MCT and a Reading, Penn., native.
Henry said his Airmen inspect the yard looking for equipment that meets Air Force requirements, provide a pre-joint inspection, and palletize the equipment to be flown south by the 332nd Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron, saving the Army from making unnecessary convoys and allowing some equipment to be flown to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
"If I can move that for you faster, I'd think you'd want that," he said. "We (have to) help each other."
In addition to sorting and palletizing cargo, the Airmen also train Soldiers in the JDC to process paperwork according to Air Force requirements.
"They are down here to show me how to do the paperwork, what to bill and how to process it," said Warthen.
Henry said he and his unit are proud to be part of a joint effort assisting the 264th CSSB in the drawdown process.
"I try to do everything I can to help the 264th," he said. "The relationship is great."
Spc. Russell Patrick, a cargo specialist with the 611th Seaport Operations Company and a Brooklyn, N.Y., native, separates cargo in the Joint Distribution Center at Contingency Operating Location Speicher, Iraq.
(U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Keith S. VanKlompenberg)