March 20, 2012
By Cpl. Michele Watson, 1st Marine Logistics Group (FWD)
CAMP HANSON, Afghanistan — As military operations in Afghanistan begin to shift from a combat role to an advisory role, the Marine Corps has started the process of redistributing gear throughout Afghanistan and shipping supplies back to the U.S.
Combat Logistics Battalion 1, 1st Marine Logistics Group (Forward) recently sent a team from the Camp Dwyer sort lot to Camp Hanson to conduct retrograde operations, March 4-8.
The CLB-1 sort lot at Camp Dwyer is one of two Marine Corps sort lots in Afghanistan. The Marines attached to the sort lot are responsible for the tracking and processing of redeployment, retrograde and disposition supplies from units operating south of Camp Leatherneck in Helmand province.
Since its launch in November 2011, the CLB-1 sort lot has saved the Marine Corps millions of dollars. In February alone, the sort lot recovered almost $6 million of reusable gear according to Master Sgt. Jeremy Goodine, staff noncommissioned officer-in-charge of the CLB-1 sort lot.
“The importance of the sort lot is to retrograde and redistribute gear throughout the Marine Corps,” said Cpl. Ronnie Dupre, an embark specialist on the sort lot team, CLB-1, 1st MLG (Fwd). “The gear we receive comes from units with surplus and overstock.”
Once the equipment arrives at the sort lot, it is inventoried, sorted, classified by type, and logged into a computer system for accountability. After being put in the system, a list of the gear is sent to the Supply Management Unit to determine if the gear can be redistributed to other units in the area or shipped back to the U.S.
“The sort lot helps save money because we don’t have to order new gear if it’s redistributed to different [forward operating bases],” said Dupre, 20, a native of Houma, La.
Usually, units with extra gear bring their supplies to the sort lot, where the Marines separate the items. Recently, a new method was introduced that saves time for both the sort lot Marines as well as the units returning gear.
Four members of the sort lot team went to Camp Hanson to support 2nd Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 5. The team went through multiple containers of gear and separated the items at the forward operating base during their four-day stay.
“By sorting in the field, the Marines save time by separating reusable assets with non-reusable assets,” said Staff Sgt. Rocksan Washington, sort lot operations chief, CLB-1, 1st MLG (Fwd). “I think this is a more efficient way of sorting the gear.”
Once at the site, the sort lot team began combing through multiple containers of unused items. After separating the gear and organizing it, the team consolidated the gear into 13, 20-foot long shipping containers and returned them to Camp Dwyer.
“Being able to have the full support of [2nd Bn., 9th Marines] helped the team accomplish the mission in an expedient manner,” said Washington. “They did a phenomenal job.”
The sort lot teams have already proved their worth by the millions of dollars they have saved the Marine Corps in a few short months. The sort lot teams have a big job ahead of them and they will continue their efforts until all supplies and Marines are out of Afghanistan.