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2nd Brigade Combat Team soldiers pack supplies for upcoming deployment

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FORT DRUM — With their deployment rapidly approaching, soldiers from the post’s 2nd Brigade Combat Team are moving quickly to package their needed supplies for shipment to Afghanistan.

Over at the brigade’s motor pool Friday morning, a small handful of soldiers from the brigade headquarters could be seen preparing large storage containers for their impending 6,500-plus-mile trip, tightly packing in duffel bags and large equipment boxes.

Chief Warrant Officer 2 Kedrick A. Legg, the brigade’s mobility officer, said about 200 containers, which each can carry 10,000 pounds of equipment, are being prepared over a three-week period. Comparatively, the brigade had six weeks to ready itself before heading to the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, Calif., in September.

“It’s tighter than usual,” Chief Warrant Officer Legg said. He said scheduling the labor-intensive work around the Veterans Day and Thanksgiving holiday weekends also impacted the brigade’s timing.

Less than half of the approximately 3,000-member brigade is scheduled to deploy for nine months starting early next year as the 2nd Security Force Assistance Brigade to help Afghan security forces prepare for when American forces withdraw from the country.

Fire support Sgt. Bryan J. Hulit worked with Sgt. Mark A. Moore and Pfc. Jason C. Heard to trim wood boards to serve as a lining for one of the containers. The lining is placed to avoid direct contact between packed metal items and the metal surfaces of the container’s interior, which could create sparks if the package were to shift in transit.

Sgt. Hulit said this was the first time he had been involved in this type of preparation work prior to a deployment.

“This is kind of a learning experience for me,” he said.

Before they are shipped off, the containers will be inspected by both the post’s surface deployment distribution command center and the Coast Guard to ensure equipment isn’t superfluous with supplies already in theater and that there are no unsafe materials in the shipments.

When ready, Chief Warrant Officer Legg said, the containers will be taken by truck to a port in Charleston, S.C., where they will be taken by boat to Jordan, then flown into Afghanistan to meet up with the soldiers as they arrive. He added that he had to plan for the supplies to be ready within a window of one week from the soldiers’ arrival.

“It all has to arrive roughly the same time,” he said.

The brigade had its first departures related to the deployment last week.

The 14 soldiers of the brigade’s Tactical Explosive Detection Dog platoon departed post Nov. 10 to train in Indiana for about a month before they head off to meet up with the rest of the brigade in Afghanistan.

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