News: Yard operators assist logistics operations
The Central Receiving and Shipping Point (CRSP) at Logistical Support Area Anaconda, with more than 20 acres of work space, is the largest of nine CRSP yards in Iraq.
The yard is run by 2nd Platoon of the 21st Cargo Transfer Company, an active-duty unit from Fort Lewis, Wash.
The company took over yard operations in December. They have made, and are still in the process of making, numerous improvements to the yard, including; a new office building, a new loading ramp, spreading more gravel and expanding the area with the help of the Air Force.
They are planning on putting in a fence and light poles, said 1st Lt. Bart Lajoie, the transportation officer in charge of the yard.
Although they put a lot of work into the improvements, customer service is still their number one priority.
"We are here to receive Class VII major end items and unit equipment for redeploying and deploying units. We are a central point in Iraq. Anything redeploying from the northern part of the country comes through us and goes to Kuwait, and vice versa," said Lajoie.
They also deal with newly issued or replacement Class VII items coming in for units already in theater, he added.
"We are here 24-7. Our goal is to make sure that the cargo is constantly flowing in and out. We don't want it to sit there stagnant," Lajoie explained.
As the equipment and containers travel through the country, they move from place to place methodically, said Sgt. Charles Perault, a transportation management coordinator from the 21st CTC. "The CRSP is essentially used in a leapfrogging effect in moving equipment, so you don't have a truck driver going from Kuwait all the way to Mosul," he explained.
As combat logistics patrols come and go, the Soldiers and Kellogg, Brown and Root personnel working at the CRSP always stand ready with a variety of Material Handling Equipment (MHE) to load and unload anything that comes through the yard.
"Teamwork is great. For a lot of the Soldiers it is new to work with the civilian side of the house," said Lajoie.
"But we learn from each other, and by doing that we were actually able to reorganize the yard in a better fashion, where it helps customers come and go expediently."
Both the dayshift and the nightshift have two main bodies " those who do the administrative work in the office, and those who make sure everything is where it's supposed to be in the yard.
Pfc. Michael Malone Jr. is part of the yard crew. "I oversee things that go on in the yard. When vehicles come in and they don't have enough drivers, I help download them," he said.
Malone was originally a cavalry scout, but as soon as he graduated his advanced individual training and arrived at Fort Lewis, he received driver and hazmat training, and was assigned to the 21st CTC.
Perault thinks that loading and unloading things expeditiously is one of the most important parts of their mission, making sure that the drivers get the maximum amount of rest before they have to hit the road again.
"I have been on the road before. I am sympathetic to the convoy commanders and all the guys on the road," he said.
Customers seem to be satisfied with the services at the LSA Anaconda CRSP.
"We can come here any time of the night. We usually arrive here in the early morning hours, and we are able to offload at that time, which is one of the good things about this yard," said Sgt. Keith L. Lucy, a bridge crewmember turned truck driver from Company A, 31st Forward Support Battalion.
His unit is at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait. This was his fourth visit to the CRSP yard at Anaconda.
"Compared to a lot of the CRSP yards, this one has a variety of unloading equipment, so they can unload us very fast and therefore we are able to get more rest for the trip back," Lucy added.
At times, the personnel at the CRSP see some unusual equipment come through, but so far they've handled everything with ease.
Lajoie said that the strangest item he has seen come through so far was a radar dome of a redeploying Air Force element, but they "made it happen."
It's hard to quantify the amount of equipment that is processed through the yard.
"Between Dec. 19 and Jan. 31, we moved over 4,200 pieces, which included rolling stock and containers. We were quite busy," said Lajoie.
As major units deploy and redeploy, the amount of cargo coming in and leaving the yard fluctuates drastically.
They are anticipating increased traffic as the U.S. Army shuts down its operations at some of the forward operating bases, said Perault.
For Malone, working in the yard has been a new experience. "It is good to know how to do what I am doing here . . . next time I deploy out here with a cavalry squadron, maybe they will need someone who knows a little bit about transportation," he said.
The CRSP yard tries to accommodate customers the best they can. If a combat logistics patrol rolls in without the proper documentation for the equipment they transport, they are not getting turned around, Lajoie said.
Frustrated cargo, containers that are not properly identified, are opened up with the help of the military police and the Provost Marshal's Office. By using the PMO, the yard can find items inside to help properly identify the rightful owner of the container.
However, as Malone noted, "If something is not going the way it is supposed to, it is not always the CRSP yard's fault."