Fort Benning may take in 12 pieces of equipment daily until all materials are moved from the Army Reserve’s 81st Regional Support Command’s 43rd Equipment Concentration Site at Fort Gillem.
“We are up and rolling in steady every day,” site manager Darrell Shelton said Tuesday.
The post is the new home for 1,350 vehicles from Fort Gillem after the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure Commission closed the post in Forest Park, Ga., southeast of Atlanta. By July, about 1,300 trucks will deliver the command’s cargo trucks, trailers, construction equipment, high mobility wheeled vehicles and Humvees to a temporary storage site at Fort Benning until a 50,000-square-foot maintenance facility and 150,000-square-foot warehouse are completed at Harmony Church.
The 11th Engineer motor pool is the temporary location for the equipment. “We are just anticipating our move to our new facility in July,” Shelton said.
The 43rd Equipment Concentration Site will serve seven southeastern states and 120 units. They include Army Reserve units with vehicles and more than 5,000 different types of equipment and supplies used by military units.
“They are capable of doing the direct support level maintenance, anything from replacing an engine to a transmission,” said Derek McCrea, who has helped coordinate the move to Fort Benning over the last four months.
In addition to maintaining trucks and trailers, the staff includes communication and arms specialists to repair M-16s, other weapons and radio equipment.
“We deal with more than just vehicles,” Shelton said.
If all units served by the site turned in 40 percent of their equipment, Shelton said the site could have about 4,500 pieces to maintain. “We are a big operation,” he said.
The staff includes 101 employees, but only 15 came to take control of equipment on post. Shelton said 14 pieces arrived on Monday.
More than 1,000 pieces are expected on the ground by the end of April.
“We will have the bulk of the big equipment down here by the end of April,” Shelton said. “It will pick up gradually as the months go on.”
The rest of the employees will arrive by July 15. All are classified as dual status technicians, which means all are members of the Army Reserve.
“We are not required to wear uniforms but are required to stay active members of the Reserve,” said Shelton, a master sergeant, serving with a unit out of Birmingham, Ala.
McCrea said the employees will be happy with the new location.
“The facility is much nicer than the one they have at Fort Gillem,” he said.
Shelton, who lives in Opelika, Ala., commuted to Atlanta daily when he started working at the equipment site in 2001.
“I’m 30 miles from home and loving it,” he said.