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News | Sept. 27, 2023

Agency scrap handler donated for humanitarian assistance

By Jake Joy DLA Disposition Services Public Affairs

The agency’s property disposal site in Okinawa, Japan, took a turn as its own excess customer earlier this year when it relinquished a tracked Volvo scrap handler originally worth about half a million dollars.

Defense Logistics Agency Disposition Services Property Disposal Specialist Hunter Higgins said the Okinawa team finally said goodbye to the vehicle after more than a year of non-usage. The handler had “tremendous capabilities,” he said, but between the institution of a robust commercial scrap removal contract covering Japan sites, and the presence of a shearer and a 30k material handler at the field site, there was simply no more need for the machine. 

“Once on record in [Distribution Standard System], we reached out to the Humanitarian Assistance Program,” Higgins said, where HAP contacts were “very excited about the opportunity to have this equipment.”

Hirotatsu Tengan is a heavy equipment mechanic on the Army’s HAP maintenance team based out of Camp Kinser, South Korea. He said that once they complete minor restoration and some factory maintenance, he expects a partner nation to request the scrap handler through the normal embassy or military channels. 

The Defense Security Cooperation Agency is the element of DOD that oversees humanitarian donations for the department, while the U.S. Army maintains property collection points in the U.S., Europe and Asia. Combatant commands are allowed, under DSCA direction, to maintain regional humanitarian assistance programs executed in concert with the efforts of the U.S. Agency for International Development, or USAID. Through both diplomatic and military communication channels, the combatant commands and diplomats funnel the equipment and goods that DLA and other government entities release for donation to needy partners.

DLA routinely donates used and excess property for humanitarian needs; everything from mattresses, school desks, and appliances bound for Eastern European nations, to medical technology and equipment employed in African and Central American health clinics. More than 40,000 items originally worth $7.6 million were donated by DLA Disposition Services to humanitarian assistance efforts during fiscal 2022.