CAMP LEATHERNECK, Afghanistan -- As Marines prepare to shift full security responsibility in Helmand province to Afghan National Security Forces by the end of 2014, they are also concentrating on getting all of their gear and equipment out of Afghanistan.
Nine Marine Expeditionary Brigade - Afghanistan Marines consisting of one supply officer, one supply chief, four supply administration clerks, one warehouse chief and two warehousemen account for Marine Corps-owned items before retrograding and shipping them home.
Originally, 38 Marines deployed with the supply unit to support MEB-A, of which 29 redeployed during June after completing a six-month tour.
“This is our first deployment as a unit,” said Sgt. Andrea Robb, the Theater Provided Equipment clerk with MEB-A. “Marines were attached to the unit from within the Marine Expeditionary Force Headquarters Group approximately two months before we deployed.”
Each Marine has a specific job and they help each other out when needed in order to get the job done.
“These Marines are totally dedicated to mission accomplishment,” said Staff Sgt. Dederick Brooks, the supply chief with MEB-A and native of Lufkin, Texas. “They are perfectionists in every way. They have devoted countless hours to providing outstanding support to all of RC(SW).”
The majority of the Marines work an average of 70 hours a week. They are currently responsible for approximately $400 million worth of equipment, all of which needs to be retrograded back to the States.
“We have a strong sense of responsibility,” said Cpl. Anthony Santos, a supply administrative clerk with MEB-A and native of Yona, Guam. “We show up on time, put in our best effort and complete tasks to the best of our ability.”
From computers and printers to tactical gear and wrecker trucks, every piece is inspected, documented and made ready for shipment back to the States.
“Our mission consists of retrograding the Marine Corps’ equipment and gear from RC(SW),” said Robb, a native of Greeley, Colorado. “All of the Marines are the best at what they do, and they work hard in completing everything that comes their way. I have never worked in a better section than I do now. I have remarkable Marines to help me out to properly retrograde this equipment. Everything has to be handled by us to be properly retrograded. Teamwork is the thing that is keeping us going right now. Our mission is greater than what a normal supply section can handle. We work together in everything we do.”
So far, the MEB-A supply section has retrograded approximately $16.5 million of Theatre Provided Equipment and a total of 2,784 material excess items totaling $874 million and counting.
The Marines in the unit deployed to Afghanistan from Camp Pendleton, California, during December 2013, and will continue retrograding equipment for RC(SW) until the end of 2014.