News: Soldiers work multi-billion dollar mission
Story by Spc. Jason Adolphson
CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait — Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, someone is washing vehicles and equipment at the wash rack in Camp Arifjan. The wash rack serves as a tool for regular maintenance; but the water pressure is cranking up a notch as everything passing through the camp in response to the Iraq drawdown gets a good, solid cleansing before transitioning out to other locations.
"There's a big waterfall of equipment coming out of Iraq as we get closer to the deadline for the drawdown," said Maj. Bo Donohoo, 2nd Battalion, 401st Army Field Support Brigade. The officer, who works at the Lot 58 stock yard here, said he considers the yard to be a catcher's mitt for all of the equipment.
Moreover, the lot serves as a cache for billions of dollars in equipment. "Every MRAP is over $1 million and we've got about 500 here," Donohoo said. The lot also has tanks, Bradleys and Humvees to name a few in addition to non rolling stock items.
"The Army is a living, breathing animal," Donohoo said. "All of that theater required equipment that has been purchased over the last eight years for Iraq is coming down here. We get it to the wash rack and get it moving."
Approximately 500 tactical and non tactical vehicles come through the wash rack here daily. Staff Sgt. Jason Frye, who works at the wash rack, said everything coming from Iraq gets washed for maintenance purposes and agricultural inspections.
Frye said a thorough cleaning, depending on the piece of equipment, can take anywhere between one to 36 hours before a U.S. military customs inspection. "Customs inspects for dirt and contaminates that can pose any potential environmental problems," Fry said.
The U.S. Army Materiel Command processes all vehicles for maintenance and updates before pushing them out to other locations. Placement of the equipment varies based on the needs of the Army.
"We retrograde it back to the United States, ship it up in support of OEF, or keep it here in Kuwait as part of the Army's prepositioned stock," Donohoo said. "We get about 2,000 pieces of equipment a month and we're anticipating much more as the drawdown continues.
"A lot of people are counting on us to make this happen — All the way up to the president. It's a big mission and it's the main effort [here] right now. I feel honored to be here."