An eye opening tour:
The 3rd SB receives revealing tour of Joint Base Balad

Sgt. Gaelen Lowers
3rd Sustainment Bde. Public Affairs
13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) Public Affairs

JOINT BASE BALAD, Iraq — Prior to assuming the largest sustainment mission in the history of Operation Iraqi Freedom May 25 — with more than 70 percent of U.S. forces as customers — Soldiers with 3rd Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) were able to gain a more accurate view of their mission during a tour of the facilities the now command and control at Joint Base Balad, Iraq. 

“This was all about giving the brigade a grasp of what they were going to be overseeing and in charge of over the next 12 months,” said Maj. Michael Halley, support operations officer with the 13th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 3rd Sust. Bde. and a Cedar Rapids, Iowa native.

The first stop on the tour was the central receiving and shipping point, where convoys carrying sustainment cargo is taken. The CRSP yard here is the central most CRSP yard in Iraq, and runs 24 hours per day, seven days per week. Convoys are able to roll into JBB with more than 40 trucks at a time using the yard’s unique system of organization, said Sgt. 1st Class Conrad Leach, CRSP yard noncommissioned officer-in-charge with the 13th CSSB and a Fair Bluff, N.C., native.

“This is where the rubber meets the road,” Halley said.

The group was also taken to the container repair yard, where old containers are brought in and repaired by local Iraqis. These locals are trained, taught a skill and paid a salary comparable with similar professional careers in the country, he said.

Another stop on the tour was the amnesty yard, the starting point for many units’ excess military equipment. From there, equipment can go to the Defense Reutilization and Marketing Office for scrap metal or to the supply support activity warehouse where equipment is packaged properly and put back into the system for military use.

“It has actually put a lot of money back into the Army system,” Halley said. “Since the (Oct. 15), we have cleared approximately $800 million.”

The tour gave the 3rd Sust. Bde. leadership a better idea of their responsibilities during the deployment to JBB.

“I think we’re ready,” said Maj. Charlie Ward, plans officer with the 3rd Sust. Bde. and a Orlando, Fla., native, “We’ve been ready for awhile. Everyone’s been eager to get over here. Some of the Soldiers we have here are the Soldiers who deployed during (Operation Iraqi Freedom I), and for them to see this come full circle is really memorable for a lot of them. In more ways than one, we’re absolutely ready.”

 

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Key leaders with the 3rd Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) are briefed on the activities of the central receiving and shipping point May 15 during a tour of Joint Base Balad, Iraq. The tour allowed the brigade’s leaders to gain a more accurate perspective of their responsibilities while deployed in Iraq.

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Trailers and other cargo fill the central receiving and shipping point ready to be shipped off to various locations throughout the theater. Key leaders with the 3rd Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) visited the CRSP yard and other locations at Joint Base Balad, Iraq May 15 to gain a more accurate perspective of their responsibilities in Iraq.