News: Amnesty Day: Clean-up for continued success
Story by Sgt. Allyson Parla
JOINT BASE BALAD, Iraq - More than 75 soldiers, airmen and civilians coordinated Amnesty Day June 20 at Joint Base Balad, Iraq. Amnesty Day provided a means of expeditiously turning in equipment accumulated over the years from a variety of sources.
The event included civilian and military representatives who facilitated the quick turnover of government supplies and hundreds more who took advantage of the convenience of the supply service in a central location on base.
For more than eight years, hundreds of thousands of U.S. military and Department of Defense civilians have occupied JBB, inevitably acquiring tons of items during this time period. As the government prepares to reposture the forces here, cleaning up excess items is crucial as the Iraqi government takes control of daily operations.
“We need to set the Iraqi government up for success,” said Capt. Robert Williams, the officer-in-charge of support operations and the clean sweep officer for the 352nd Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 77th Sustainment Brigade, 310th Expeditionary Sustainment Command, and a Fayetville, Ga., native. Williams, who started planning for the event about a month ago, was a key coordinator for the planning of the event and facilitating operations.
“We have liaisons who are working with their [Iraqi] government and identifying their needs,” said Williams about where some of the excess items might be going.
The event took place at what was previously occupied by the Old Bridge Company and is identified as one of the foreign excess personal property lots on base, a site that will eventually be used to stage equipment for the Iraqi government.
“The purpose of amnesty day is to provide all of these units on base an opportunity to drop off their excess stuff in one location to make it easier for the customer,” said Maj. Chuck Delongchamp, the base transition lead and base operating support integrator for the 332nd Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron, and a Miami, Fla., native.
Upon arrival at the site, soldiers, airmen and civilians could be seen directing traffic to the various areas depending on the type of items needing to be turned in. A map indicating the appropriate disposal site was given to individuals to assist in the operation.
“We have multiple facilities here,” said 1st Lt. Curt Livingston, the officer-in-charge of the fixed mobile redistribution team for the 305th Quartermaster Company, 352nd CSSB, and a native of Snowflake, Ariz., adding that most of the facilities here are involved in the retrograde. “Any unaccounted for, non hand receipted items should be coming here today, which consists of everything that everyone has acquired over the past few years.”
Among the facilities present at the yard included Defense Reutilization and Marketing Office, Supply Support Activity, Communications, Ammunition Supply Point, Explosive Ordnance Disposal and Hazardous Material sections.
While the Amnesty Day program facilitates turn in of excess items, it is not intended to circumvent normal supply processes.
“Every day is really amnesty day at the [mobile redistribution team] or DRMO,” said Delongchamp. “Today it’s just in one centralized location.”
The day proved to exceed expectations in terms of how many items were brought to the site for turn-in.
Class 9 items, or items that are new or serviceable, made up the bulk of the items that were turned in, said Livingston.
“It’s a good opportunity to clean things up around here,” said Chief Warrant Officer 3 Scott Franek, the property book officer for the 77th Sust. Bde., and a native of Chambersburg, Pa.
As the U.S. government facilitates the transition of authority to the Iraqi government, it is clear that service members are working diligently to ensure that the Iraqi’s have the space and equipment they need to succeed independently.
“In the past we’ve never had to clean up so much, there was always a replacing unit coming in behind us that we just handed our stuff off to,’ said Franek. “We don’t have that luxury anymore.”
Altogether about 36 Container Expresses, or CONEXs, were filled up with items brought to the yard for redistribution either back to the U.S., Afghanistan, or to the Iraqi government.