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News | March 16, 2023

Japan firetruck reuse helps NH Air Guard

By Jake Joy DLA Disposition Services Public Affairs

2005 Pierce Model 210 Fire Truck, pristine condition, just 35,000 miles, worth $250,000 … available now!

The vehicle was turned in to the Defense Logistics Agency Disposition Services Iwakuni property disposal site by the Commander Navy Region Japan – Sasebo fire response team in October. Property Disposal Specialist Morgan Gunn was tasked with processing it and said she quickly knew it wouldn’t take long to find a reuse destination.

“It was extremely well maintained,” Gunn said. “When I first saw it, I remember thinking to myself that whoever received this would be extremely lucky.” 

That extremely lucky someone was Logistics Management Specialist Joseph Smith, who screens used property for the New Hampshire Air National Guard’s 157th Logistics Readiness Squadron out of the joint-use Portsmouth International Airport.

Smith, who has been with the 157th Air Refueling Wing since 2011, learned about DLA's wide-ranging property reuse possibilities from an active-duty supply officer and said that since about 2017, he’s looked to the agency for used and excess property “as much as I can.” 

“We’ve requisitioned everything from toilet paper to sheet metal from DLA,” Smith said. “It really helped our conversion out.”

That conversion was the air wing’s replacement of the KC-45 aerial refueling tanker with the newer KC-46 Pegasus. As the first Air Guard group to receive the new aircraft, the wing required plentiful storage space for items and equipment that could be recycled for use in the new aircraft.

Smith estimates that by regularly searching DLA’s used property inventory, the squadron has amassed millions of dollars in important items like CONEX boxes for storage and aircraft cargo containers for real-world mission needs. As for the recent firetruck acquistion, Smith said he saw it “on the flashboard of the [DLA] RTD front page,” and knew the wing had an unfilled firetruck authorization that had remained stuck on a funding wait list. Smith went ahead and requested it.

Gunn handled most of the item's reutilization legwork. The truck re-homing was the first significant reuse project the 15-year DLA Disposition Services veteran had taken on since transferring to Japan, and she said she especially appreciated the “hand holding” of Iwakuni-based Property Disposal Specialist Eiko Nakatsui in helping with the process. 

“I really enjoyed the group collaboration to make this receipt and shipment happen without any issues,” Gunn said.  “Everything – from the [Sasebo] Recycling Center coordinating with our dispatch office to get the battery jumped on the day of the shipment, to the support we received from [DLA] Distribution – was amazing. Everyone did their part, whether big or small, to make this successful.”

Not that hurdles didn’t exist. They did. 

First, the firetruck was deemed too large to fit through the various tunnels it would need to transit on a tractor trailer flatbed if shipping from nearby Hakata Port in Fukuoka. Second possibility: perhaps someone could just drive it to the port? Not an option. The vehicle was already deregistered and could not drive on public roads. Finally, a “one-time-only” request for shipment directly from Akasaki Pier was coordinated and approved, and a special trailer was secured for its delivery. 

The vehicle made it to port in Seattle in mid-February and finally reached its New Hampshire home Feb. 22nd. After a month-long odyssey across more than 7,000 miles, the Pease Air National Guard Base fire response crew has finally filled out its vehicle roster, and allowed for the continued use of a quarter-million dollar machine that U.S. taxpayers provided to their nation's warfighters.

“It’s probably the best firetruck we have on the base right now,” Smith said. “It’s in great condition.”