Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Breaking it Down, Packing it up

Breaking it down, packing it up
There's an art to platoon's method of moving things back from Iraq


As rear detachment personnel and Family Readiness Groups prepare for the arrival of 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team soldiers, some of whom could be arriving as soon as this week, work on the Iraq end has also intensified.

Getting the soldiers home is one thing; getting all the equipment the brigade uses is quite another.

That's why the Consolidated Transportation Assembly Area platoon is putting in overtime right now.

The platoon, assigned to Headquarters Company, 203rd Brigade Support Battalion, has prepared the yard and inspection area they will use to inspect and prepare the entire brigade's wheeled and tracked vehicles, and storage containers and trailers for the trip to Kuwait.

"Our mission is to safely consolidate and redeploy all of the brigade's equipment," said 1st Lt. Kirby Rice, officer in charge of the platoon. "We are also receiving all of the incoming unit's equipment."

The Germany-based 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division will follow the 3rd Brigade at Forward Operating Base Hammer.

And it has already begun sending more than 1,000 pieces of equipment to Hammer. The 3rd Brigade will redeploy dozens of pieces of equipment to Kuwait.

For the soldiers currently working for Rice, it's a lot of equipment to inspect, secure and store.


The platoon has been busy preparing the inspection area, clearing the storage yards and establishing the CTAA's control point.

"We had a lot of equipment, a few containers and ammunition to clear out," Rice said. "Along with that, we had to get our control point set up. It's been really busy. Our soldiers have worked really hard."

Rice said members of the platoon come from different companies and have various military specialties.

"We had 11 people who had never worked together before, pulling together and getting everything done," Rice said. "Just setting up, we had to motivate soldiers and get them ready. It was all about getting them into the right mindset. We had to make sure that they were not thinking of this as a detail. We had to make sure they understood this was their platoon now. They had to understand that these were the soldiers that they would be redeploying with."

Sgt. 1st Class Larry Grate, noncommissioned officer in charge of the CTAA, is pleased with how his soldiers have adjusted.

"We have an outstanding team that is moving the mission forward," he said. "There has been no complaining or excuses. They have all just executed our orders."

Grate is happy with their performance but understands that the hard part of the mission is yet to come.

"This is the first time I've been in charge of this many moving parts," he said. "It is very exciting. There isn't a challenge that is too great to overcome. We will be fine."

The platoon will ensure all of the equipment is clean, free of debris and loose ammunition and ready to ship.

"It is really important we get this done right here," Rice said. "When we get to Kuwait, all of our equipment will be on a line. If inspectors find something we missed, the whole line is shut down. A siren goes off and lights start flashing; it just stops the whole process. We do not want a vehicle or trailer with our name on it to be the one holding up someone's redeployment."

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