Retrograde, reset, redistribution makes best use of taxpayer dollars
Story and Photo by
Sgt. Chris Huddleston
45th Sustainment Brigade Public Affairs, 8th Theater Sust. Command
KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan — As the drawdown of forces in Afghanistan continues, Soldiers from the retrograde section, here, are currently shipping out equipment affected by years of use.
“Since we’re drawing down, a lot of equipment has to ship back through Kuwait,” said Staff Sgt. Benson Barnes, retrograde noncommissioned officer in charge, 45th Sustainment Brigade, 8th Theater Sust. Command, Joint Sust. Command-Afghanistan. “We track all pallets and containers for our subordinate units and find the means to get all of it out of theater and to Kuwait.”
Retrograde is a process to move equipment and materiel from a deployed theater to a reset program. The equipment could also be moved to another theater of operations to replenish unit stocks or satisfy stock requirements.
Items that are moved include individual Soldier equipment, construction materials, vehicles and repair parts.
“We service five outlying bases and three units, here,” said Spc. Patrick Walton, retrograde clerk, 45th Sust. Bde. “We verify reported numbers and make sure that pallets keep moving. Inaccurate numbers lead to pallets getting left behind.”
This movement is the first step in the shipped equipment’s journey to the Retrograde, Reset and Redistribution program, or R3, a process that brings the equipment back to combat capability or removes it from service.
The retrograde section tracks the equipment along the first leg of its trip back to the U.S. for the R3 process.
“We track (shipments) from the unit,” Barnes said. “After a shipment gets to Kuwait, it is up to the receiving unit to take responsibility for it and get it where it needs to go.”
Sometimes, keeping the shipments moving is easier said than done.
“We have to ensure smooth movement of the shipments,” Walton said. “If pallets stop moving, the yards get flooded, and we have to travel out there to help figure out how to solve the problem.”
The R3 program’s goal is to get the most use out of the equipment the Army has, giving taxpayers the most value for their tax dollar.
The 45th Sust. Bde. is doing its part to make sure that happens by keeping the pallets moving.