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News | Nov. 21, 2022

Pacific disposal crew closes book on ‘22

By Jake Joy DLA Disposition Services Public Affairs

Epic distances, wild weather, language barriers – but a few of the inherent challenges that face the agency’s top-notch property disposal experts serving warfighters all around the vast Pacific Ocean.

As 2022 comes to a close, the Defense Logistics Agency Disposition Services team responsible for property disposal sites across the Pacific region was asked to briefly reflect on the hand they had in a variety of important national security efforts. The directorate, headquartered at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, provided its usual high level of direct support for exercises, deploying ships and troops, and permanent overseas bases during another tricky COVID-19-affected period for many countries. 

“Team Pacific had an outstanding year, and I attribute that to the efforts of our teammates, always seeking out creative and effective methods to promote optimum support to the warfighter,” said Pacific region Director Faron Cordrey. “The one common thread to Team Pacific’s successes has centered on building relationships, creating networks that have allowed the team to achieve goals, and establishing competitive advantages.”

Pearl Harbor personnel visited multiple “Big Island” installations to evaluate and discuss plans for future removals from Hawaii’s biggest island, while the site’s environmental team provided hazardous waste disposal support and specialized training to DOD’s waste generators across the tropical chain, and the 4,439 line items received marked a significant intake jump from the previous year. A planned reorganization also brought additional responsibilities to Pearl Harbor staff – it will now handle business for the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands and cover the Thailand area of responsibility that includes Thailand, Singapore, Diego Garcia, and the Philippines, where some operational changes will include coordination of direct shipment of property to Pearl Harbor or the U.S. mainland.

“Pacific leaders and personnel communicate core knowledge and challenges across our sites and region to sharpen our efficiency and effectiveness, deliver world-class reverse logistics support and meet warfighter needs wherever they are,” said region Deputy Director Kirk Buckner.  

The following represent just a few of the many customer support wins that the rest of the Pacific team notched during 2022.

In the U.S. territory of Guam, the local DLA Disposition Services office helped disappear some stubborn waste collections for warfighters stationed there. Almost 75,000 pounds of expended brass (shell casings) that had remained administratively mired in one location for a full decade … gone. Another nearly 30,000 pounds of mutilation-required items that had also been lurking around the island jungle for 10 years? Vanished by DLA magic.

“DLA Disposition Services delivers excellent service, smart excess property reutilization and disposition solutions,” said Buckner. “All of this is accomplished with the great teaming in the Pacific and with the awesome subject matter experts, leadership, and resources from our headquarters to help the Pacific team exceed warfighter expectations.”

Across Japan, agency disposal pros met the needs of soldiers, sailors, Marines, and airmen with critical services like environmentally responsible removal of challenging items, wastes and materials. In Sasebo and Iwakuni, personnel managed the removal of nearly 1.2 million pounds of hazardous waste. In the far north of the country, at Misawa, the site team handled turn in of Army field diesel generators. The three Shariki Communications Site units weighed a whopping 21 tons each. The Sagami office completed removal of several notable items, including a comprehensive three-day on-site breakdown and removal of a too-large-to-transport 84-foot tug vessel located at Naval Support Activities Yokohama in the Tokyo Bay. Another complex scrap challenge involved dismantling a wheel and sandblast machine affixed within the 403rd Logistics Readiness Command warehouse at Sagami. The scrap project was accomplished within two weeks of its start. 

On the Japanese island of Okinawa, DLA’s disposal office handled the divestiture of seven fixed bridges that were limiting the operational space of the 9th Marine Engineer Battalion. The Okinawa team also removed more than 5,000 items from DOD schools that needed decommissioning or retrofitting, and they disposed of five P19 firefighting trucks for the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing.

“I couldn’t be more proud of the synergy that Team Pacific has forged with our stakeholders,” Cordrey said.

Gimcheon employees handle disposition across the Korean peninsula. They completed several high-profile disposal efforts during the year, including the demilitarization and scrapping of 197 tactical vehicles. They helped the Army 2nd Infantry Division improve its motor pool maneuvering space by clearing out excess property that had accumulated due to multiple unit rotations and relocations over the previous five years. They disposed of rolling stock made excess due to configuration changes made with the military’s Korea Enduring Equipment Set. Disposal experts also cleared operational space by identifying and removing equipment at Kunsan Air Base. And finally, DLA’s environmental specialists found, vetted, and got approvals for a Korean disposal treatment facility’s receipt of 212 drums of “Super Tropical Bleach,” a hazardous waste that had not been successfully removed for U.S. units there since 2013.

“The Pacific Team continues to improve and evolve to exceed warfighter needs every day,” Buckner said. “[We] deliver the goods, so to speak, and we get it right time after time.”