Equipment medics – Missions require on-site help to be available

Army Master Sgt. Sue Harper
21st Theater Support Command

***image1***In almost every Army mission a Soldier performs, a medic is usually required to be on site in case someone needs help. You’ll find the Army cares for its equipment in much the same manner. At the port operations being conducted at Antwerp, Belgium, the “equipment medics” are the maintenance personnel from the 21st Theater Support Command’s General Support Center-Europe.
GSC-E works hand in hand with elements of the Surface Deployment and Distribution Command to make sure that thousands of pieces of returning Operation Iraqi Freedom cargo get from the ship to U.S. Army facilities in Europe.
The return of 1st AD’s equipment is part of a larger operation involving both the sending of fresh troops to Iraq as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom, and the return of European troops from downrange.
This involves moving 1st Infantry Division equipment and personnel from posts in Germany to Iraq and redeploying division equipment and personnel to European bases.
The GSC-E and the SDDC’s 838th Transportation Battalion, 59th Transportation Group, are among roughly 20 organizations working together to return 1st AD equipment.
The division liaison personnel have expressed their great satisfaction with operations so far, as the goal of the operation is to send only operational equipment back to home station, while damaged equipment is sent directly to major repair facilities in Kaiserslautern and elsewhere, to repair the equipment before the 1st AD or any of the returning Soldiers resume regular operations back here in Germany.
“We work very well together with the people up here. They assist us with whatever we need and we try to help them,” said Lothar Hasler of GSC-E.
Members of the 598th Transportation Group head up phase one of this important mission.
“Our mission is to actually download the vessel and bring the cargo out to the port,” said Lt. Col. Victor Gonzalez, commander, 838th Transportation Battalion. “We receive manifests as to where the cargo is supposed to go.”
The GSC-E “medics” come into play when the cargo isn’t able to go.
“If some equipment is not running or some equipment has dead batteries, low fuel, bad tires or is not starting, we fix it so it can be moved,” Mr. Hasler said.
And if that doesn’t work, the “equipment medics” evacuate the items, ensuring that when troops returning from OIF finish their leaves and personal recovery time, they’ll find their equipment waiting for them, fixed and operational, and ready for the next time our nation needs their protection.