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Shipping Out
Staff Sgt. Travis Hill, 379th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron transit shipping point NCOIC, prepares unserviceable equipment for shipping. The Transit Shipping Point is responsible for cataloging and organizing equipment for shipping to Defense Reutilization and Marketing Offices. Sergeant Hill is deployed from Grand Forks Air Force Base, N.D. in support of operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Tech. Sgt. Jason W. Edwards)
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379 ELRS prepares discarded items for reuse

Posted 11/2/2009   Updated 11/2/2009 Email story   Print story


by Airman 1st Class David Dobrydney
379th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

11/2/2009 - SOUTHWEST ASIA -- In Southwest Asia, a high operations tempo means that equipment will inevitably wear out, break down or be rendered obsolete.

When that happens, unserviceable objects find their way to the Transit Shipping Point operated by the 379th Logistics Readiness Squadron.

This two-man shop is responsible for processing the nearly 100,000 separate items that are turned in each month for recycling or reutilization, eventually finding their way to one of two Defense Reutilization and Marketing Offices in Southwest Asia.

Starting with the current rotation, the two TSP members are from separate Air Force Specialty Codes, one to organize the items turned in, the other to handle their shipment to the DRMOs.

Tech. Sgt. Joseph Gadson, deployed here from Keesler Air Force Base, Miss., said having two members working both parts of the TSP has streamlined operations. "There used to be a gap between the supply and shipping sides of the process," he said. "Now we're in the same building, helping each other out, and making it easier for our customers."

A variety of items can be turned in, but the most common are computer items from units' Automatic Data Processing Equipment accounts, Sergeant Gadson said. "We do take items that aren't on accounts," he said, "but it must be something that DRMO can reuse."

Staff Sgt. Travis Hill, deployed from Grand Forks Air Force Base, N.D., is NCO in charge of the TSP. "Usually when warranties run out, a unit will buy all new equipment," he said, "and the old equipment will get turned in to us."

"Customers need to make sure they're speaking with the ADPE contact to get the equipment off their accounts," Sergeant Gadson said, "because as an equipment custodian, they're responsible for it. If they turn an item in to us and it hasn't been cleared, we can't accept it."

Much of the electronic equipment that is turned in has a bar code. An improvement Sergeant Gadson made was installing a computer program that allowed those codes to be scanned. "Before we would have to type the codes into the system one by one," Sergeant Gadson said. "Now we can just scan the codes and process the items much faster."

Besides computer equipment, the TSP processes items both large and small. Sergeant Gadson is currently coordinating the movement of several fuel trucks sitting in the yard. "They're undriveable, so we're going to load them onto flatbeds with forklifts to get them to the port," Sergeant Gadson said. "It's larger things like this I've never seen before."

Due to the weight of the shipments, the most cost-effective transportation is by road or sea. As NCO in charge of container management, Sergeant Gadson must work with local civilian authorities to arrange sea transport. Great attention to detail is necessary when preparing lists of items to avoid any inconsistencies that could delay shipment.

In the TSP building and outside in the yard, nearly 400,000 items are stored in more than 30 containers awaiting shipment. Servicemembers are allowed to search through the discarded equipment for spare parts to fix machines that are still serviceable.

"If we have a part or something they need, we'll let them go out to the yard and take it," Sergeant Gadson said. "We're saving a lot of time and money by reusing what other people don't need."

After being accepted into the TSP system, items are sorted based on their next destination. The TSP only organizes and ships the items to the DRMO. Once there, Sergeant Gadson said the items are either sold at monthly sales, with the proceeds going back to the U.S. government, or broken down for their materials.

In the modern armed forces, conservation is a goal toward which all services strive. Despite the amount of work involved in cataloging and shipping thousands of items each month, the 379 LRS Transit Shipping Point will continue to give discarded equipment a new lease on life.

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