News: The 513th Transportation Company - Ready, Proactive and Flexible
BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan — The 513th Transportation Company, based out of Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan, is one unit that has much to be proud of; not only have these Steel Warriors participated in the close out of Iraq, but they have also conducted security for convoys in Afghanistan and have opened and maintain a retrograde sorting yard. In so doing they are setting conditions here for the beginning of the responsible drawdown of forces in Afghanistan.
“My troops have really shown me the adaptability and capabilities of a U.S. soldier today,” said Capt. Tometrius Greer, the 513th company commander. “They are so versatile and resilient; they really are the best at everything they do.”
When the Active Duty unit, based out of Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington, deployed overseas last September, the soldiers were first stationed out of Kuwait and their mission was to assist with the downgrade of Iraq. After that mission was completed, Greer’s company was told that their next mission would take them to Afghanistan.
“In just a few weeks, we went from running missions every day in and out of Iraq, to reorganizing and training to be ready to deploy to Afghanistan,” said Greer. “Not only did that mean we had a mission change, but because the terrain and weather in Afghanistan is very different from that in Kuwait and Iraq, we also had to find the time to train on the new vehicles that we’d be using to navigate through Afghanistan.”
Less than a month later, Greer’s soldiers were retrained and celebrating the New Year in Afghanistan.
So far, the unit has completed over 40 convoy escort missions with “multiple stops enroute” and has escorted over 1,100 trucks and logged over 600,000 miles, added Greer.
“But the soldiers who are running the retrograde sorting yards,” said Greer, “they are doing a job that’s not even listed in their job description, but they are very successful.”
Lead by Chief Warrant Officer 2 Cyntranelle Brown, the soldiers of the 513th, have since March, saved the Army just under $30 million in cost avoidance by getting all types of equipment back into the DOD supply system.
“At the beginning, it was a little scary,” admitted Brown, who is originally a warehouse operations warrant officer. “I know how to run a warehouse, which is a part of this operation, but none of us knew how to run a retrograde sorting yard.”
With a group of soldiers who had no experience in the field either, Brown and her soldiers visited other yards with similar operations and began to develop their plan.
Sgt. Joshua Parr, the sorting and processing non-commissioned officer-in-charge, agreed that there was a big learning curve for the group, but that they overcame it pretty quickly and successfully.
“As a truck driver, I haven’t really had the chance to learn anything about warehouse operations or how to know which pieces of equipment are good to put back into the Army’s inventory,” said Parr. “In my role here, I keep track of what convoys bring in, what we have in stock, and what we are sending back out to those units in need.
Sgt. Jeremy Kumm, an Army vehicle mechanic, is the non-commissioned officer-in-charge of “outside operations,” or the incoming and outgoing of equipment from the actual sorting yard.
“Sometimes when my team and I open the shipping containers, we have no idea what we will find,” said Kumm. “One time we found a 24-foot long bathroom trailer, while in another container we found 25 busted up dirt bikes and other recreation equipment.
“You could definitely say that we find a bit of everything here!” said Kumm. “It has been a real privilege to be a squad leader for my team. My soldiers picked up these new skills very quickly and have become experts in this field. I am extremely proud of their accomplishments.”
Date Posted:06.14.2012 06:05
Location:BAGRAM AIR FIELD, AF
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