Last container from Iraq unloaded at MCLC

MCLB-ALBANY -- Marine Corps Logistics Command Marines, civilians and contractors are celebrating the emptying of the last container of military supplies from Iraq.

According to MCLB officials, the last container in Iraq was emptied Sept. 20 at a 260,000-square-foot facility off base that was secured by LOGCOM to support sorting, identification and custodial accounting of the items inside the containers.

The container that was emptied in September was the last of the 2,400 containers that returned from Iraq to MCLB-Albany.

When the Marine Corps began shifting operations from Iraq to Afghanistan, the containers started arriving at the base in Albany in August 2009 and officials say they expect a similar effort to be in place when troops begin to withdraw from Afghanistan.

The 20-foot-long containers that returned from overseas held a variety of equipment ranging from High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle seat cushions, tools, printers, copiers and rapidly-procured items used by the Marine Corps for theater operations.

Col. Drexel Heard, director of the Distribution Management Center, applauded the LOGCOM team's milestone and portrayed what he believed it meant for those involved.

"I think for the Marine Corps it means putting gear back into the hands of the war fighter," he said. "To LOGCOM, the milestone is a sign of the tremendous amount of skills and capabilities we have here to support Marine Corps' war fighting requirements in support of our nation's call. We have all types of artisans, and can support local requirements and are prepared to deploy around the world to do these same types of jobs. It's a proof of the skills that exist in LOGCOM are current, relevant and capable of achieving any task that can be assigned."

A container management team was created to physically handle the containers that were returning from Iraq while the Supported Activities Supply System Retrograde Unit unloaded gear from the containers, identified the materials and processed them for redistribution.

According to MCLB officials, items in the containers were sorted and either redistributed to Marine Corps operating forces or if they were not needed by the war fighters they were offered back to the originating source of supply for financial credit under the Materials Returns Program.

Items that were damaged or in excess were processed in accordance with excess property procedures.