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Al Asad Air Base CRSP

The 169th Cargo Transfer Company is attached to the 867th Corps Support Battalion, 15th Sustainment Brigade, for its Operation Iraqi Freedom deployment. Originally a port operations cargo company, the 169th deployed as a cargo transfer company (CTC) in early September 2006. To address this change of mission, unit leaders had to train and qualify new Soldiers straight out of advanced individual training as military occupational specialty (MOS) 88H cargo handlers and in other MOSs. The 169th conducted driver’s training courses and classes on the materials-handling equipment (MHE) that the unit would be operating while in theater.

The 169th CTC established a new central receiving and shipping point (CRSP) at Al Asad Air Base in Anbar Province, Iraq, in October 2006. My platoon, the 4th Platoon, was key in operating the CRSP. The new CRSP has helped to improve in-transit visibility and prevent cargo losses, and the once-inexperienced Soldiers have now evolved into seasoned MHE operators; their skill has proved to be important given the volume of work performed in the CRSP yard.

Once the CRSP layout was complete, the 169th developed a one-way traffic pattern to control the flow of movement inside the CRSP yard. The CTC replaced the existing two-way entry control point with one entrance point and one exit point. New screening lanes were put in place in order to better identify incoming and outgoing cargo. The new layout resulted in a definite increase in productivity and a significant decrease in pilferage.

The 4th Platoon’s CTC missions include receiving, staging, documenting, and coordinating the upload and download of all unit equipment arriving in theater or departing for redeployment. The 169th provides supply support to seven forward operating bases (FOBs). Each FOB has its own cargo-staging lane in the CRSP. CRSP personnel use staging lanes to designate where cargo goes after it is downloaded. The CRSP yard also has a frustrated lane for cargo that arrives with no paperwork or point of contact and a holding lane for cargo destined to stay at Al Asad.

In order to operate the CRSP 24 hours a day, the 4th Platoon of the 169th CTC is split into two shifts. Most operators and the key leaders work during the day since most of the work and meetings take place then. To run a highly efficient yard in support of the outlying FOBs, the unit has developed a strong maintenance plan for keeping all of the MHE operational. The MHE, consisting of three Kalmars, two 10,000-pound forklifts, and one 6,000-pound forklift, go through a lot of stress during 24-hour operations, and most of the MHE is on its third or fourth rotation. Because of this, CRSP personnel conduct preventive maintenance checks and services every 12 hours.

A transportation movement request is used to identify each piece of cargo that arrives at the CRSP yard. This lets the operators know who sent the cargo, where it is going, and to whom it is being sent. Once identified, Soldiers stage the cargo in the lane designated for the FOB to which it will be shipped. CRSP personnel then attend a daily meeting at the battalion headquarters to help schedule a convoy to pick up the cargo, and then they remove the cargo from the yard’s inventory.

Kellogg, Brown, and Root (KBR) contractors operate the CRSP yard’s air sustainment cell. KBR works with the Navy to palletize all cargo going by air on 463L pallets and stage it for pickup.

Daily reports include a classified CRSP report that is sent to the battalion support operations office to let them know what has been physically inventoried in the CRSP yard. This report helps in designating trucks for cargo pickup. The operations section updates the Container Management Support Tool report. This report is helpful in determining which containers are Government owned and which are leased. Cargo handlers give priority to emptying leased containers so that they can be sent back to Kuwait before the lease expires.

The 169th conducted a relief in place and transfer of authority of the CRSP with KBR early this year. Although operating the CRSP and developing a transfer of authority plan bring forth many challenges, they serve as a great learning experience for the 169th CTC. Most of our customers represent the Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Department of Defense civilians. Therefore, this has provided the first opportunity for most of our Soldiers to work in a joint environment.
ALOG

First Lieutenant Robert D. Gunning, Jr., is a platoon leader in the 169th Cargo Transfer Company at Al Asad Air Base, Iraq. He holds a bachelor’s degree in health, exercise, and sports science from The Citadel and is a graduate of the Transportation Officer Basic Course, the Unit Movement Officer Course, and the Support Operations Course, Phase I.