JOINT BASE BALAD, Iraq— The Joint Base Balad Fixed Material Redistribution Team yard, run by the 289th Quartermaster Company, 13th Combat Sustainment Support, 3rd Sustainment Brigade, 103rd Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), held a three-day-long Amnesty Day Oct. 19-21 for units across the base to drop off all their excess equipment and gear, relieving those units of much frustration.
“Amnesty Day evolved out of the need for units to be rid of their excess gear and equipment that they have lying around their area of operations,” said Maj. Michael Halley, officer in charge of support operations with the 13th CSSB, and a Cedar Rapids, Iowa, native. “Go ahead and pack that stuff up, send it to us, and we’ll take care of the rest.”
The F-MRT yard is a place specifically designed for units from all over Iraq to bring all of the excess equipment that has been piling up over the past seven years, said Halley. It is a central collection point so gear can be sorted through and shipped off to its proper destinations, saving the Army more than $7 million a week.
“Since May 1, the brigade has turned in more than $134 million-worth of equipment,” said 1st Lt. Kyle Sissom, F-MRT yard OIC with the 289th QM Company, and a Merriam, Kan., native. “So we’re really saving the Army a lot of money.”
Although the F-MRT yard is open every day for units to bring equipment, the Amnesty Day was a way to create awareness for the yard and give units a specific time and date to bring by their unwanted gear, continued Sissom.
“This day was just for units on JBB, but we will take containers from any unit, from any forward operating base, at any time,” said Halley.
Sometimes units are unable to get their excess equipment from their location to JBB, but that is where the mobile teams of the MRT are useful, said Halley.
“We send these mobile [material] redistribution teams to outlying FOBs (forward operating bases) to collect all of the excess cargo, and bring it back to JBB to be sorted and shipped off,” he said.
Once the equipment hits the yard, it is sorted and sent to the different agencies on JBB, Kuwait or back stateside, said Sissom.
“Almost 80 percent of what we receive is scrap metal,” said Sissom. “We send that over to the Defense Reutilization and Marketing Office to be broken down, reused and recycled. Basically what these agencies do is take the equipment, find a happy home for it, repackage it, re-service it and then allow the Army to reuse it.”
The main goal is to reduce the Army’s footprint in Iraq and by clearing out all of the trash and excess equipment, said Sissom. They are significantly reducing the effects of the past seven years.
There will be future Amnesty Days, said Halley, but he added that he didn’t want units to forget that the F-MRT yard is there for their use and benefit. Every day is Amnesty Day there.
“Amnesty means we’ll take everything,” he said. “We’ll take all classes of material. We’ll take it off your hands, so you don’t have to go through the process of getting together the paperwork and turning it in. We’ll do all that for you. It’s a one-stop shop. You drop it off and we’ll take care of the rest.”