JOINT BASE BALAD, Iraq (AFNS) -- As the responsible drawdown of forces in Iraq continues, the Airmen of the 332nd Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron Material Management Flight here have gone back to basics and cut down excess assets at the base.
The 35 people in supply now keep track of some 7,000 required line items, valued at $30 million. Other items, shipped as part of the drawdown, are on their way to other locations to continue to support operations around the world.
"We had a lot of stuff here," said Master Sgt. Brian Applegate, the MMF maintenance support superintendent. "When the drawdown started, we went through our entire stock and redistributed around 3,000 line items, such as uniform items, and sent them to other locations such as Afghanistan or back to the U.S. We also turned over one building to the base and have consolidated all supply operations to two buildings."
Balancing the needs of current operations and keeping pace with the drawdown schedule can be challenging, Sergeant Applegate said. A bolt for an airplane isn't the same as a bolt for a truck, and the supply squadron has line numbers for each and every type that needs to be inventoried and tracked, he explained.
"Since flying operations have not stopped here, we still have to be able to support any aircraft that comes in, as well as our aircraft that might break down in another location," said Senior Airman Noah Clifton, a MMF material management technician. "We have spares packages that can go out to various locations with critical parts an aircraft might need. So when you add those to all the different supply items needed to make a base functional, it turns into a big deal."
As the drawdown continues at JB Balad, the Airmen of the 332 ELRS Material Management Flight will continue to track and trim assets to balance the current mission with future needs.
"From Iraqi Freedom to New Dawn, we have proudly supported the greatest Air Force worldwide, and are the tip of the spear when it comes to the drawdown," Sergeant Applegate said. "Just as with the buildup, 332 ELRS Material Management Flight is crucial and provides just as great a role towards the drawdown."
Article by Tech. Sgt. Stacy Fowler, 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs