The 24th Quartermaster Company and Marine Corps
Combat Logistics Battalion I
combined their operations at Al Asad, Iraq, to create a centralized
distribution center that provided both GS and DS class I services.
On 8 October 2006, the 24th Quartermaster Company took over
the general support (GS) class I (subsistence) area at Al
Asad, Iraq. The company, part of the 593d Corp Support Group
at Fort Lewis, Washington, was assigned to the 630th Combat
Sustainment Support Brigade. At the time, we provided support
to only 4 forward operating bases (FOBs) and 44,000 personnel.
Al Asad also had a direct support (DS) class I area, run by
the Marine Corps Combat Logistics Battalion 1, that provided
support to 5 FOBs and 7,600 personnel.
Now, imagine a centralized distribution center providing class
I support to all of Anbar province and its surrounding FOBs.
All of the commodities would be in one location under a joint
service administration. This was our challenge: to bring together
the two class I areas—one Army GS and one Marine DS.
The goal was to create a joint distribution center at Al Asad,
composed of a forward distribution center multiclass section,
a central receiving and shipping point, a petroleum section,
and a combined GS/DS class I center. To do this, we had to
merge the Army and Marine Corps class I operations into a
joint distribution center, which would improve customer service,
reduce transportation requirements, improve asset visibility,
and provide a more secure location.
The Logistics Civil Augmentation Program contractor KBR, Inc.,
then would take full authority and operational control of
the class I yard, leaving the Army and Marine Corps personnel
to supervise, evaluate, and submit requisitions.
Merging the GS and DS yards with Army, Marine Corps, and KBR
personnel in one location was the first step. The second step
was designating and establishing the new roles of the Army
and Marine personnel. With the merger, the Army provided the
officer in charge and the Marine Corps provided the staff
noncommissioned officer (NCO) in charge and the requisitions
NCO. Their responsibilities were to provide oversight of the
operation; serve as liaisons between the Army, Marine Corps,
and KBR; and requisition stocks. The officer in charge was
responsible for all reports, providing the evaluation of KBR
to the higher headquarters, and serving as the accountable
officer. The staff NCO in charge was responsible for the general
oversight of the yard and reporting contract violations. The
requisitions NCO was responsible for the requisition and distribution
of all stocks to the FOBs and Al Asad personnel.
Since the two services have different operating procedures,
the combined center had to have its own set of innovative
procedures for ordering requisitions.
The Army uses Department of the Army (DA) Form
1687, Notice of Delegation of Authority-Receipt for Supplies,
and DA Form 3161, Request for Issue or Turn-in. The customer
provides an assumption of command order from his unit and
the DA Form 1687, which enables an individual to pick up class
I items on behalf of the unit. The Marines use a different
system called “rapid requests,” which is a battalion
screening process that authorizes customers to pick up rations
on behalf of the unit. The Army provides a 24-hour turn-around,
while the Marine Corps fills orders on the spot. The solution
to resolving these differences was to merge the Marine Corps
and Army systems by allowing units to pick up 10 items at
a time once a week and by using DA Form 1687 and the assumption
of command order to maintain an accurate accountability of
on-hand stocks and assist in the requisition process.
Both services used the same provider, Public Works Corporation
(PWC) based in Kuwait, but they did it differently. The Marine
Corps class I activity coordinated directly with the provider,
while the Army
coordinated through a higher headquarters. To overcome this
difference, the Army and Marine Corps consolidated their requisitions
into one account for operational rations and coordinated directly
with PWC. With this system, orders arrived prepackaged. This
required the FOBs to provide their requests using the PWC
order format. Each FOB had a designation code that identified
its order when it arrived at Al Asad. This process reduced
double-handling and improved the packaging, distribution,
and staging of stock.
inventories class I rations with KBR
contractors during the joint GS/DS inventory
conducted before the relief in
place/transfer of authority with KBR.
Transferring Operations to KBR
Once the Soldiers and the Marines came under a joint system,
they initiated the KBR merger. To manage the relief in
place and transfer of authority (RIP/TOA), Army and Marine
Corps personnel and KBR established a phased operation
to conduct the transfer. They conducted a joint inventory
of stocks at both yards before the rations were combined
at one location. KBR provided all materials-handling equipment
and assumed control of storage. Army and Marine Corps personnel
established day and night shifts and served as supervisors
and liaison officers with the Army and Marine Corps higher
headquarters. The KBR statement of work specified the contractor’s
responsibilities and the services’ expectations to
fulfill the legal service obligations. Army and Marine
Corps personnel had to take the online contracting classes
offered through the Defense Acquisition University to learn
the contract language, roles and regulations, and legal
The RIP/TOA included another set of challenges, including
the joint technical inspection of equipment, the depletion
of stocks from the GS class I yard, the movement of rations
to the DS class I yard, and, finally, the 100-percent inventory
of stocks and rations. Over a 1-month period, the Army and
Marine activity and KBR completed the RIP/TOA by merging the
stocks, preparing a RIP/TOA checklist, restructuring a new
standing operating procedure, and completing the final inventory.
The Army and Marine class I storage and distribution center
is a good example of what the Armed Forces will look like
in the next 5 years. The armed services will secure a site,
contractors will take over the logistics and combat support,
and the armed services will put the logistics Soldiers back
into the war. Working with a sister service was a great opportunity
to understand another service’s operations and learn
new mechanisms to improve our tactics, techniques, and procedures.
Joint service operations definitively highlight the phrase, “One
team, one fight!”
Second Lieutenant Carlos E. Comas is the executive officer of the 24th Quartermaster
Company, 593d Sustainment Brigade, at Fort Lewis, Washington. He holds a bachelor’s
degree in psychology and is a graduate of the Officer Candidate School and the
Quartermaster Officer Basic Course.