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Boxes of excess gear and equipment are staged at the sort lot aboard Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan, Nov. 24 as part of Operation Clean Sweep. After being inventoried and cleaned, this gear will be shipped back to the United States or to a unit currently deployed. (U.S. Marine Corps Photo by Cpl. Michael Augusto)

Photo by Cpl. Michael Augusto

Operation Clean Sweep: 2nd MLG (FWD) leads the way with redeployment, retrograde

5 Dec 2011 | 2nd Lt. James F. Stenger

Over the course of the last two months, Marines and sailors with the 2nd Marine Logistics Group (Forward) have begun the process of accounting for, sorting and redistributing Regional Command Southwest’s gear and equipment in Operation Clean Sweep aboard Camp Leatherneck.

This operation is part of RC (SW)’s plan for redeployment, reintegration, reconstitution and recovery (R4), which is a four-part term commonly used to refer to the concept of how the Marine Corps will most efficiently and effectively leave Afghanistan.

Planning for the departure of forces has become a primary focus of operations, along with the continued training of Afghan National Security Forces.

In accordance with Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. James F. Amos’s ground equipment reset strategy for the ultimate withdrawal of combat troops from Afghanistan by 2014, the 2nd MLG (FWD), the unit responsible for all logistical support in the RC(SW) area of operation, has taken the lead on Operation Clean Sweep.

“The leadership of the 2nd MLG (FWD) recognized that the sooner we start on this effort for redeployment and retrograde, the easier it will be to handle the equipment and also the better off we’ll be,” explained Maj. Ken Karcher, the future operations officer for 2nd MLG (FWD) and officer in charge of redeployment and retrograde (R2) operations.

Each element of the Marine Air-Ground Task Force in RC(SW) is currently conducting an inventory of their gear designed to identify those items that are unnecessary for mission accomplishment. Once this inventory is complete, units will haul their excess supply items to a designated collection point.

According to Karcher, the 2nd MLG (FWD) has dedicated lots aboard Camp Leatherneck and Camp Dwyer to collect, inventory, clean and process for shipment the surplus gear and equipment in RC(SW). These areas, known as sort lots, are the current focal points for R2.

“[These lots] are the last place in country that some of these consumable items that are left in Afghanistan will see before being sent back to the states. We’re trying to use some of these supplies as much a possible,” said 1st Lt. Sean P. Carroll, officer in charge of the Camp Leatherneck sort lot. “If there are excess materials, then we’re going to ship them back to the states.”

Some of the supply items will be shipped back to the Marine Corps logistics commands in Barstow, Calif. and Albany, Ga., as well as to the three Marine Expeditionary Forces located around the world. Other items will be redistributed to units currently in Afghanistan who need the gear to continue to sustain operations.

If units identify excess gear now, the process of leaving Afghanistan will be less complicated in the coming months, according to Karcher.

Not only is the plan designed to facilitate the process of leaving Afghanistan, but it will ultimately save the Marine Corps money by identifying excess gear and reallocating it to the units deployed.

“The first few days of operations we brought in about 2.3 million dollars worth of equipment that was all excess,” said Carroll.

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