News | Dec. 23, 2021

Europe and Africa missions rely on regional reverse logistics team

By Jake Joy DLA Disposition Services Public Affairs

Defense Logistics Agency Disposition Services’ Disposal Support Directorate Europe and Africa powered through multiple pandemic waves across continents in 2021 to continue meeting the property disposal needs of America’s armed forces overseas.

“From the bird’s eye view, this team has done it all in the last year to support the warfighter, but it was not without personal sacrifice,” said Jessie Parisano, who took over direction of DLA Disposition Services’ regional team in October. “The team persevered through the different lockdowns, curfews and pandemic restrictions, all while away from their home country.”

A big part of warfighter support in that part of the world comes from reverse logistics assistance given during exercises and named military operations. OPERATION ALLIED REFUGE involved the quick evacuation of U.S. personnel and citizens, Afghan translators, and others who assisted U.S. and NATO troops during two decades of conflict in Afghanistan. 

At Aviano Air Base in Italy, the DLA Disposition Services area manager was asked to help with the rapid construction of an evacuee support center. Agency personnel quickly performed a thorough inspection of all property on record at the site, identifying 19 shipping and storage containers to use as storage for evacuee luggage and personal belongings.  

In Germany, reuse specialists quickly funneled more than 2,500 pieces of property worth $350,000 to Air Force units there who were helping with evacuee operations at Ramstein Air Base. 

Assistance for Operation OCTAVE QUARTZ saw property disposal specialists taking receipt of material from sites across Somalia, where U.S. Africa Command had responsibility for relocating personnel from the country to other East Africa operating locations. The scrap and weapons-related assets received during troop realignments grew to 133,000 items accepted by personnel in Germany and Djibouti.

Reverse logistics help for rotational forces in Poland continued throughout the year, with environmentalists based at Grafenwoehr providing oversight of 27 hazardous waste removals and 13 container delivery orders supporting NATO, Operation Atlantic Resolve, and the DEFENDER-Europe 21 exercise. More than half a million pounds of hazardous material was safely removed for troops training there.

In neighboring Germany, U.S. Army garrisons at Bavaria and Ansbach were serviced with 136 hazardous waste removals involving nearly 500 line items weighing just under two million pounds.

Regional personnel’s standard year-round at-request training outreach for non-exercise customers was exemplified by assistance provided to Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 8 in Rota, Spain. Site specialists visited with the EOD unit to inspect property, review turn-in requirements, and help them determine the right way forward. The guidance helped EOD to dispose of years’ worth of excess and obsolete property and meet the requirements of a Navy Material Accountability Campaign.

Rota personnel also worked with the Department of Defense Education Activity on the turn in of classroom furniture in June. Coordination included the removal of 10 truckloads of desks, chairs, computer tables, and shelving units originally valued at $260,000.  Advanced communication with the Defense Security Cooperation Agency’s Humanitarian Assistance Program resulted in the requisitioning of most of the items to partner nations in need.  

In Turkey, the Incirlik Air Base property disposal site team consulted with the local 39th Civil Engineering Squadron and 39th Contracting Squadron to quickly replace a decades-old scale that was deactivated by the Turkish government. The strong working relationship between the site and its customer base ensured that warfighter support could continue with limited disruption.

In Sigonella, Sicily, the property disposal team prioritized rapid reuse of a $270,000 fire truck turned over in Greece. According to site personnel, the Navy base in Sigonella had just one working fire truck and faced a months-long wait for parts to repair its other. In just a few days, DLA Disposition Services helped transfer the vehicle, returning the Sigonella fire department to a 100% support capability covering the local bases and servicemember housing area. 

“Looking forward into 2022,” Parisano said, “we are all hopeful, optimistic, and forever committed to support the warfighter in a safer and less restrictive environment.”