Q-West prepares for base turnover

Story and photos by Staff Sgt. Matthew C. Cooley
15th Sustainment Brigade Public Affairs

CONTINGENCY OPERATING LOCATION Q-WEST, Iraq — Soldiers with the 15th Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), finished a base-wide inventory June 4 of equipment and structures at Contingency Operating Base Q-West, in preparation for the July turnover of the base to the Iraqi Air Force.

Chief Warrant Officer 4 Hector Rivera, property book officer with the 15th Sust. Bde. and a Coamo, Puerto Rico, native, said it took Soldiers four months to inventory the $45 million worth of equipment purchased commercially by units in Iraq or furnished to the military’s civilian contractors, not including permanent structures or “real property.”

Much of the equipment to be turned over has been on the base since the beginning of the war, said Sgt. 1st Class Jose Rodriguez, base closure noncommissioned officer-in-charge with the 15th Sust. Bde. and a Ponce, Puerto Rico, native.

Rivera said giving the Iraqi forces the equipment was more cost effective than other methods of reallocating it.

Before deciding to turn over the equipment to Iraqi forces, Rivera and his team created a list of the equipment so other U.S. forces could request any items they needed, he said.

After that, Rivera’s team consolidated many of the items into multiple locations for security and ease of inventorying with Iraqi Air Force personnel. His team, along with a team from the Iraqi Air Force, then inventoried all of the equipment together, he said.

Equipment for turnover included desks, chairs, containerized housing units, air conditioners, generators, toolboxes and washing machines, Rivera said.

“It may seem like business as usual,” he said, “but it’s not.”

Rivera explained the guidelines and processes of documenting the turnover, intended to ensure no one tried to steal or illegally sell government equipment.

“It is a complicated system,” he said. “There are so many layers of reporting; there is always someone checking what we do.”

“From trash cans to dumpsters to (refrigerators), everything given to the Iraqi forces was accounted for,” Rodriguez said.

It was a team effort by multiple organizations, Rivera said.

“We started this process four months ago and we’re just happy that it’s coming to a conclusion,” he said. “We did a lot of hard work.”

 

news photo
Chief Warrant Officer 3 Diogenes Acosta (from left), maintenance chief with the 15th Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) and an Enterprise, Ala., native; Pierre Gant, a client-owned equipment specialist contracted by the U.S. Army; and Staff Sgt. Linda Franco, an ammo specialist with the 15th Special Troops Battalion, 15th Sust. Bde. and a Los Angeles native, work with Iraqi Air Force personnel June 2 at Contingency Operating Base Q-West, Iraq, to inventory equipment scheduled for the July turnover of the base to the Iraqi Air Force. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Matthew C. Cooley)

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Staff Sgt. Lina Franco (second from left), an ammo specialist with the 15th Special Troops Battalion, 15th Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) and a Los Angeles native, and Chief Warrant Officer 3 Diogenes Acosta (third from left), maintenance chief with the 15th Sust. Bde. and an Enterprise, Ala., native, work with Iraqi Air Force personnel June 2 at Contingency Operating Base Q-West, Iraq, to inventory equipment scheduled for the July turnover of the base to the Iraqi Air Force. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Matthew C. Cooley)