Thursday, March 15, 2007

Perspective: Incoming Marine units getting retrograde equipment

Discarded vehicles lined up at a retrograde lot, intended for shipment back to the United States.

CAMP TAQADDUM, Iraq — This is no junkyard.

Tucked off a dirt road in this dusty Marine Corps logistical hub sits the “retrograde lot,” where thousands of pieces of excess equipment — everything from weapons and radios to global positioning systems, Humvees and tanks — are inspected and prepared for transport.

Usually the equipment goes back to the States. But as more Marines are sent to Iraq as part of the Pentagon’s planned “surge” of troops, some of the equipment is being sent to incoming units, said Maj. David Rosenberg, 35, in charge of the Marine Corps Logistics Command Forward-Iraq’s retrograde lot.

Logistics officer Capt. John Diaz, with 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines, out of Camp Pendleton, Calif. — one of the “surge” battalions coming to Anbar province — is in Iraq early to inspect the equipment the unit will be inheriting from the retrograde lot.

“For the most part, it’s in good condition,” he said of the equipment. It’s a “nontraditional” way in which his battalion is equipping its forces; usually, battalions bring equipment with them, or take over equipment from units they’re replacing.

Read the rest at Stars and Stripes