News: Mathis matters
Story by: Sgt. Kandi Huggins
CONTINGENCY OPERATING SITE WARRIOR, Iraq - As ‘Devil Brigade’ soldiers of the 1st Advise and Assist Task Force, 1st Infantry Division, continue to drawdown their presence in Iraq, soldiers continue working to ensure property and equipment are appropriately turned in to be reused by the Army or other organizations.
Staff Sgt. Roderick Mathis, Forward Issue Turn-In Point Noncommissioned-Officer-in-Charge, Company B, 101st Brigade Support Battalion, 1st AATF, said while his primary mission in supporting Operation New Dawn is to supervise the supply distribution for the Devil Brigade, he never forgets his responsibility to his soldiers.
“Our primary function is to receive, issue and turn in multiple classes of supply,” said the Atlanta native.
Mathis said they turn in everything from Class II items, which include standard office supplies, to Class IX items, which include major repair parts.
Through the two main operations the FITIP oversees, Regular Retrograde and Clean Sweep, equipment turn-in allows money to return back into the budget, enabling the budget to be extended versus discarding the items that could otherwise be reused.
Under Operation Clean Sweep, equipment is returned to either Joint Base Balad or Kuwait to be demilitarized.
“This is a force protection measure,” said Mathis. “With us returning unusable equipment through Clean Sweep, we are ensuring the items are not getting into the hands of those who could possibly use [them] against us.”
On the other hand, Mathis said Regular Retrograde allows the supplies to recycle back into the Army’s inventory so money is not being spent on the same items.
“He is good to work with,” said Spc. Ralph Myers, supply specialist, Company B, 101st BSB. “I’d like to be a sergeant like him.”
During his tenure at Contingency Operating Site Warrior, Spc. Michael Hernandez, a logistics specialist from San Antonio, said his job entailed filing and organizing the paperwork for unit turn-ins.
“We helped with turn-ins and Clean Sweep to help the units get money for repairable parts, and turn those parts and supplies in to JBB,” he continued.
Hernandez said he admires Mathis as an NCO, however, he said his most significant moments were when Mathis helped him personally.
“He noticed I had a problem with communicating,” said Hernandez, “so he started having me write down, verbatim, the information he gave out and had me repeat it back to him several times to ensure I knew and understood what I had to do.”
Hernandez said he felt he had limitations to communicating or remembering what he had to do, and often felt fearful and intimidated about speaking up, but knew had had a lot of support.
“He was encouraging, but at the same time always offered productive criticism with methods for me to improve and correct where I made mistakes,” said Hernandez.
“I have a good group of soldiers,” said Mathis. “A number of them are pending transition from between being a soldier and becoming a civilian, and I just encourage them in whatever . . . they decide.”
Like Mathis’ soldiers, U.S. Forces are preparing to return home at the conclusion of Operation New Dawn.