Logistics leaders from HQ in Dallas recently visited with associates and teammates in Southwest Asia to get firsthand views of the complex process of getting goods to service members in Iraq.
In early December, EVP and Chief Logistics Officer Karen Stack; Morgan Meeks, vice president for transportation operations; Jason Spencer, senior logistics analyst; and CPT Erick Davidson, chief of operational plans; visited the sites to see the operations for themselves.
Accompanying them were Bryan Ed, the Exchange’s regional logistics manager at Kuwait’s Camp Arifjan; Miles Bowman, the Kuwait DC’s storage and distribution manager, who has since retired; Mario Anaya and Belinda Brown, deployed logistics operations managers; and Heraclio Pinedo and Frank Tejada, deployed logistics techs.
The Exchange annually ships nearly 300 containers packed with health and beauty aids; cosmetics; sodas, energy drinks; water; clothing; electronics; snacks; and other products to service members in Iraq.
The merchandise first comes from the Dan Daniel DC in Virginia and distribution centers in Gruenstadt and Germersheim in Germany via commercial carriers, which aren’t authorized by the U.S. government to ship government merchandise directly into Iraq.
The containers first arrive at Kuwait’s Camp Arifjan, move into government-owned containers and are transported into Iraq.
“We traveled to Kuwait for a firsthand account of the process involved to clear customs and ensure secure movement of ground cargo across the border into Iraq,” Spencer said. “The entire process is hard to visualize on paper. Seeing it personally is the best way.”
The Exchange contingent also met with members of the U.S. Army’s 595th Transportation Brigade, part of the Surface Deployment and Distribution Command. The Command supports the Exchange by providing expeditionary, port and land distribution operations.
The Exchange group visited the commercial cargo port of Shuwaikh and the military cargo port at Shuaiba.