Providers operate Army's largest supply support activity
Story and Photos by Spc. Michael Camacho
139th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment
13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) Public Affairs
JOINT BASE BALAD, Iraq — Soldiers with the 716th Quartermaster Company out of Jersey City, N.J., manage the largest multi-category Supply Support Activity facility in the Army at Joint Base Balad, Iraq.
The facility provides logistical support primarily for the units operating in Multi-National Division – North to keep them mission ready, said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Vincent Koski, the SSA accountability officer with the 716th QM Co., 80th Ordnance Battalion, 15th Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary).
"As the largest SSA in the Army, we are here to provide to the ever-changing battlefield," he said.
The SSA provides logistical service for units in Iraq and supports the roughly 13 other SSAs country wide, said Koski, a Chesterfield, Va., native.
"We work hand in hand with other SSAs," he said. "If they need a part at their SSA and they don't have it, they go through the system. It'll come to us and we'll pull the part for them and ship it out to their location."
Koski said shipments are prepared and ready for transportation within 24 hours of order. The facility processes more than 3,000 SSA referrals per week and regularly supports other SSAs in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The SSA processes an average of 1,200 supply requests and issues an average of 500 supplies daily, said Sgt. Joshua Davis, the noncommissioned officer in charge of the SSA at JBB, with the 716th QM Co.
"Anybody who needs a part, we're there," said Davis, a Chesterfield, Va., native. "We do our best to help them out … we always get the job done no matter what."
The SSA provides general unit and office supplies, vehicle oils and petroleum products, wood and fortification supplies, and repair parts for military vehicles, said Koski.
Roughly 50 percent of the supplies are repair parts for land and aviation vehicles, he said.
"It's a wide range of repair parts," he said. "It can be something as small as a bolt or as big as an engine. If it deadlines that vehicle, we'll do our best to support that customer."
Koski said petroleum products are the second most often issued items followed by general supplies.
The facility's warehouses are stocked and prepared to support mission readiness, by having a majority of the supplies the military needs on a regular basis.
The facility stocks items based on the needs of the Army by looking at the demands of the past 24 months, said Koski.
When supplies are not in stock and need to be ordered, the arrival time can depend on the stock of other SSAs in or around Iraq and the priority of the item, he said.
Though most orders arrive within 30 days, factors such as location, weather and item priority can affect the item shipment time, said Davis.
The Soldiers at the SSA establish a good working relationship with their customer units and organizations that depend on the facility, said Koski.
"We try to provide adequate customer support," he said, "getting input from the customers when issuing the (supplies)."
As bases have begun to close and downsize, more supplies are being processed through the SSA and put back into the Army supply system to be used by units in need, saving the Army more than $275 million, said Koski.
Koski said the SSA can provide support to any branch of service in Iraq and abroad, if necessary. The facility at JBB has roughly 500 customers, but because of their proximity and size, they are able to support troops serving in Operation Enduring Freedom.
The SSA has made an effort to anticipate the supply needs of the units in Iraq, said Koski.
"We try to be proactive in what's coming up … and the changing face of the battlefield," he said.
Spc. Todd Boban, a Supply Support Activity storage clerk with the 716th Quartermaster Company, 80th Ordnance Battalion, 15th Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) and a Pittsburgh native, moves cargo off a pallet at the SSA March 23 at Joint Base Balad, Iraq. JBB has the largest SSA operation in the Army. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Michael Camacho)
Spc. Elwin Crowner, the high-item-priority manager with the 716th Quartermaster Company, 80th Ordnance Battalion, 15th Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) and an Annapolis, Md., native, moves boxes at the Supply Support Activity March 23 at Joint Base Balad, Iraq. JBB has the largest SSA operation in the Army. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Michael Camacho)