Kalsu in early stages of operation as logistical hub

Photos and story by SGT. Kimberly Johnson
196th Mobile Public Affairs Det
13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) Public Affairs

CONTIGENCY OPERATING LOCATION KALSU, Iraq — The Convoy Support Center and Central Receiving and Shipping Point at Contingency Operating Location Kalsu, Iraq received its first logistical convoy May 1 as part of the responsible drawdown of troops and equipment from Iraq.

After successfully completing a rehearsal of operations for the CSC and CRSP March 15, COL Kalsu is in the early stages of convoy operations that have been redirected from COL Scania to support the final effort to close COL Scania, a logistical hub in Iraq.

The responsible drawdown in Iraq requires equipment to be permanently shipped out of theater.

The preparation of COL Kalsu as a transportation hub has taken months of planning and numerous hours of troop construction to get the camp where it is today, said Maj. Stephen E. Miller, the brigade engineer with 3rd Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division out of Fort Benning, Ga., and a native of Columbus, Ga.

Miller has overseen the entire transition of COL Kalsu into a hub, he said.

“There were a total of about 14 to 16 different projects to get the overall capacity of Kalsu up to where it needed to be as a hub,” Miller said. “The goal of my commander was to build enough capacity into the plan to facilitate the theater logistics as well as our area support mission. We actually made it much larger than the original requirement was.”

“Each piece of a CSC is essential for a successful hub,” he said.

First, the engineers planned the CRSP yard which is a storage area of about 14 acres, capable of holding 800 40-foot containers, costing more than $240,000, Miller said.

The next project was the convoy staging lanes where the trucks are parked while the unit prepares for rest of the mission. There are 23 staging lanes, comprising 18 acres, capable of holding 550 trucks and costing more than $230,000, he said.

“An additional entry control point needed to be built in order to keep traffic on the existing highway flowing,” Miller said. “There are ongoing projects in the works, such as control buildings for the movement control teams, interrogation buildings, a maintenance building and rapid scanning x-ray machines to monitor all items shipped into the camp,” he said.

One of the greatest challenges of creating the hub at Kalsu has been moving trucks over the culvert at the new ECP. Currently there is a prefabricated bridge installed and the engineers are looking for a more permanent solution to the problem, while maintaining the integrity of the existing water flow in the culvert, Miller said.

It is the main water supply for the surrounding land and cutting the culvert off is not an option. They have to find a way to work around it, he said.

The engineers at Kalsu do not only the have physical challenges of the land to deal with, but also the challenge of trying to create the hub with as little financial waste as possible, Miller said.

“That’s one thing we’ve tried to do through all this is, while doing all these projects, trying to figure out how we can maximize the use of what’s on the ground already instead of ordering more and spending more money. Right now, we have about $1.2 million in direct savings, because we didn’t buy any additional building materials. We’ve reused them, identified them or pulled them from somewhere else so they weren’t an additional cost to a project,” Miller said.

Relocating concrete walls from Contingency Operating Site Hunter, Iraq, saved the government more than $480,000. Another $260,000 was saved by redirecting a contract for concrete walls from COL Scania to COL Kalsu, Miller said.

The entire operation of COL Kalsu is to support the area of operation in all capacities.

“Our mission and operation here is to support movement of troops and equipment for the pushback of Iraq,” said Sgt. 1st Class Justin J. Patterson, senior noncommissioned officer in charge with the 80th Movement Control Team, 14th Transportation Battalion (Movement Control), 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) and a native of Catskill, N.Y. “We make sure all the equipment moving down from the north gets to Kuwait and eventually back to the United States.”

The 80th MCT is in charge of supplying the convoys with food, water, sports drinks and whatever else needed for life sustainment during their convoy missions, Patterson said.

According to Patterson, the MCT has duel roles. First, is life sustainment of convoy troops. The second is to assist and advise what is needed for their team to be effective in the movement of equipment during the responsible drawdown.

There is a responsibility to get ready, get communications and buildings established and get the movement control teams into a comfortable battle rythym, so when something bigger comes through COL Kalsu, they have the ability to improvise, adapt and overcome, Patterson said.

“When the time comes, it won’t be a question of them stepping up to the plate. They’re already on the plate,” said Patterson.

 

 

news photo
A convoy enters Contingency Operating Location Kalsu, Iraq May 4. COL Kalsu is being established to facilitate the upcoming responsible drawdown of COL Scania, the current logistical hub in theater. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Kimberly Johnson)

news photo
A convoy enters Contingency Operating Location Kalsu, Iraq May 4. COL Kalsu is being established to facilitate the upcoming responsible drawdown of COL Scania, the current logistical hub in theater. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Kimberly Johnson)

news photo
A convoy enters Contingency Operating Location Kalsu, Iraq May 4. COL Kalsu is being established to facilitate the upcoming responsible drawdown of COL Scania, the current logistical hub in theater. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Kimberly Johnson)