News: Redistribution Center saves money, helps warfighter
Story by Spc. Monte Swift
Third Army's involvement in the drawdown of U.S. troops and equipment in Iraq has served an important role in completing the mission and bringing U.S. servicemembers home.
As Third Army's focus in theater changes to Afghanistan, so must the mission of redistributing supplies.
The Theater Redistribution Center at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, supports Third Army in both missions. The 24/7 operation sorts and determines what equipment coming from Iraq can be repaired or reused in support of other operations.
"I would say about 60 percent of what we receive, we are able to redistribute," said Michael Hamilton, operations manager, Theater Redistribution Center. "Everywhere there is something going on. We have nearly 600 shipping containers ready to be unloaded right now."
The center saves the U.S. military billions of dollars every year by reducing the amount of new equipment needed.
In the fiscal year 2009, the center processed over 1.5 billion dollars worth of equipment. As many as 35 tractor trailer-sized shipping containers filled with chemical protection suits, radios, computers, medical supplies and even Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle engines and tires are unloaded and sorted every day.
"We do a lot to help with the MRAPs," said Shawn Kennedy, inspector lead and facility security coordinator, TRC. "When the MRAP stuff comes in, we work hard to get that out as quickly as possible because we know that it will be needed in Afghanistan."
A combination of input from the Standard Army Retail Supply System and subject matter experts help decide what equipment can be reused by the Army before each item is inventoried and documented. The usable equipment is then loaded up and sent to a location where it can be reconstituted to its original working condition.
Some equipment, such as pharmaceuticals and other medical equipment is sent off to support humanitarian assistance missions, while some will go directly back into theater. Equipment like pharmaceuticals must be sent away to be evaluated by experts to determine its usability.
"We deal with a lot of medical supplies coming down from Iraq," said Joe Torres, supervisor for Class A Medical. "In the month of October, we were able to save over 12 million dollars in medical equipment alone."
"The drawdown has us working through stuff pretty quick, but we are doing a good job at keeping up," said Hamilton. "We are in direct support of the military and we do anything to meet their needs."