Mobile Redistribution Team cleans up Mosul
Story by Sgt. Keith Vanklompenberg
139th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment
13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) Public Affairs
CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE MAREZ, Iraq — Members of the Mobile Redistribution Team at Contingency Operating Base Marez, Iraq, work around the clock to clean up unit's supply inventory, save taxpayer's money and prepare the base for the responsible drawdown of troops and equipment from Iraq.
"Our overall mission is to save the government money," said Spc. Timothy Lanzoni, a member of the Mobile Redistribution Team, 395th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 15th Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary).
Lanzoni, a Boston native, said since the team took over the MRT mission in November, it has seen a steady increase in the amount of material moved. He said they have already moved over $20 million worth of recovered supplies and equipment.
Lanzoni said the MRT takes any extra equipment units have, with the exception of hazardous materials and complete weapons, and process it for shipment back to the U.S. or to units in Afghanistan.
It has moved everything from scrap metal, to small medical supplies, to M1 Abrams tanks, he said.
"They're doing us a great service," said Maj. Tommie Stevens, the executive officer with the Regimental Fires Squadron, 278th Armored Cavalry Regiment, 13th SC(E) and the mayor of COB Marez.
Stevens, a Sherwood, Tenn., native, said the MRT has also done a great job of locating lost and unaccounted for containers and putting them to use.
Before the equipment can be sent to units in need, it is inventoried and convoyed to Joint Base Balad, Iraq, for refurbishing and redistribution, said Sgt. Raymond Hermann, a team leader with the MRT and a Lake City, Fla., native.
Two of the Soldiers' goals with the MRT program are to make supply sergeants responsible for their bookkeeping and to make as much of the supply as possible reusable, Hermann said.
"Nothing bothers me more than to see Soldiers waste assets," said Stevens.
Hermann said much of the material received is outdated. He said often times units fall in on containers of old equipment that will never be used and they just sit until the unit, or their replacements, decide to bring them to the MRT yard.
The MRT does not limit its efforts to COB Marez. Hermann said it is broken down into two teams that rotate traveling missions, moving excess equipment out of smaller bases throughout northern Iraq.
Lanzoni said units often try to drop off hazardous materials or other restricted items, so they constantly observe the drop-off point while processing and packing equipment on the other side of the yard.
"It's controlled chaos," he said.
Lanzoni said he volunteered for this deployment, his fourth, and is proud to be a part of the final stages of Operation Iraqi Freedom and saving taxpayers' money in a troubled economy.
"It's history in the making," he said. "The Army never really recorded drawdowns before; now they're looking at the numbers."
Expired medical supplies are gathered by the Mobile Redistribution Team, 395th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 15th Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) to be destroyed. Supplies that are still usable are sent back to the United States or to units in Afghanistan.