Mobile team takes demil mission to the warfighter

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The team uses heavy equipment to move damaged vehicles to the shearing area.

Torches are used to help demilitarize the vehicles into smaller pieces that can be sold as scrap.

An excavator is used to help crush and stockpile vehicles to be processed as scrap.

Trucks are used to haul away the demilitarized material for sale as scrap.

Bost, Afghanistan, Oct. 23, 2018 — When you count on vehicles for protection as well as transportation, you don’t want your used ones to fall into the wrong hands, something the Defense Logistics Agency is well equipped to prevent.

Area Manager Craig Barrett and Site Chief Greg Dangremond left DLA Disposition Services’ Bagram site in early April for a site visit to Combat Outpost Bost to begin what would become a four month process to demilitarize vehicles loaned by U.S. forces to the Afghanistan National Police. These vehicles included approximately 240 Ford Rangers and a variety of tactical military vehicles plus tires. 

We also provided guidance to the Marine Rotational Force and points of contact with the Resolute Support Sustainment Brigade, U.S. Forces Afghanistan, the Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan, and the Ministry of Interior for the Afghan government,” Barret said. “

Besides confirming the viability of the mission, Barret and Dangremond also provided their assessment of number of people, equipment and supplies that would be needed to do the work and provide protection for the workers. They also discussed logistical and facilities requirements for the mission to include the establishment of cutting, shearing, crushing and scrap loading and truck weighing areas and communications while on-site. Afghan and American forces would also have ensure the property was back on U.S. property records before the work could start.

By mid-June the work was about to begin, but safety measures came first. Demilitarization requires items be rendered unusable as they were designed, and vehicles used for military and police work can sometimes have loose rounds of ammunition left behind. Personnel from the brigade performed “ammo abatement” to look for any ammunition in the vehicles, they also ensured fluids were drained to prevent environmental problems. 

Equipment used by DLA Disposition Services to perform demilitarization was consolidated from Bagram with other items at the DLA Disposition Site in Kandahar. Two ground convoys in early July moved the equipment to Bost with an armed escort. An advance party of personnel from DLA Disposition Services and the equipment maintenance contractor were flown into Bost to link up with the gear. Barret said the advance group “ensured all conditions were set for the main body and completed on-site operational safety job hazard analyses for all operations.”

The main body of DLA and six additional labor contractor employee arrived by air July 15 to off-load equipment and prepare to execute the mission.  Barret said the off-loading was done at dusk and the first hour of darkness because of the Helmand heat, “which routinely exceed 115 degrees during the entire operation.”

Over the next seven days, U.S. Marine Rotational Force security team and DLA Disposition Services’ Mobile DEMIL Mission Team worked together to get people to the work site to operate.  Barret said one excavator with a shear attachment began shearing vehicles while another one with a grapple attachment began crushing and stockpiling the vehicular scrap for removals.  A portable truck scale measured the weights collected for scrap removal operations. 

A cutting area was established using high-temperature torches to further cut down and break up the vehicles. During the seven days of work the team demilitarized 389 Ford Rangers, 28 Humvees of different types, a 7-ton truck and collected 1,012 tires totaling 1.6 million pounds.  Besides enhancing security, the work generated about $507,381 in revenue for DLA’s services that will be returned to the Defense Working Capital Fund. Barret said such teamwork by DLA Disposition Services personnel in Afghanistan and the guidance from the headquarters staff was exemplary. 

“All of the sites flexed to provide personnel and equipment… Bagram and Kandahar personnel did the heavy lifting on the movement of personnel and equipment,” Barret said.  

By removing destroyed Afghan police vehicles and tires, Barret said the maintenance and supply readiness will significantly improve.  More importantly, he said the reduction of destroyed equipment will help the police receive new equipment, “which will provide them with greater mobility and operational readiness, remove blight and increase their operating space.” 

As the officer in charge for DLA Disposition Services in Afghanistan, Army Lt.Col. Anhtuan T. Nguyen characterizes the success of Bost mobile demil mission as “a great example of the DLA Disposition Services team efforts.” Nguyen said planning for another mobile demil mission “is still in its infancy stage.” At a recent planning session, participants discussed the work to be done on 600 vehicles early next year after they are cleared by the Afghan National Army Corps for disposal.   More than 100 of those vehicles are expected to be Humvees.
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