Kuwait Central to Coalition Logistics Chain
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
KUWAIT CITY, Kuwait, Jan. 10, 2005 "Amateurs study strategy. Professionals study logistics."
It's an old saw, but that doesn't mean it's not still appropriate -- and the U.S. military has taken it to heart.
More than 20,000 American servicemembers and civilians are serving in Kuwait to support the combat effort "up north," as they say here.
Troops in Kuwait are responsible for getting thousands of gallons of fuel to Iraq daily. Humvees, tanks, armored personnel carriers, forklifts, generators, and countless other systems couldn't work without their constant efforts. In short, troops in Iraq couldn't move without that logistical support.
Servicemembers in Kuwait also ensure thousands of gallons of water reach the forces in Iraq. "Our guys are spoiled," said a logistics professional in Kuwait. "They want bottled water, and we make sure they get it." That's a tall order with 150,000 U.S. troops in Iraq.
Servicemembers in Kuwait also ensure forces going north have the right equipment and facilitate last-minute training at Udairi Range in Kuwait.
They are also responsible for getting those troops home. Following scheduled Jan. 30 elections in Iraq, about 250,000 U.S. troops will be rotating in and out of the country.
Logisticians in Kuwait also maintain the camps, ensure portable latrines are cleaned, feed thousands of soldiers and Marines passing through, and work with their Kuwaiti hosts.
The Coalition Forces Land Component Command's chief of staff, Army Col. Louis Yuengert, praised the Kuwaitis for their cooperation with coalition forces. The coalition uses a good portion of the port facilities at Doha, free of charge. The coalition also does not pay landing fees at Kuwaiti airports. And, Kuwait provides all the fuel coalition forces use in Kuwait and much of the fuel used in Iraq.
Servicemembers in Kuwait also have spearheaded the move to armor all wheeled vehicles used in Iraq. This is a massive undertaking. There are 2,000 trucks on the road each day delivering supplies to Iraq. While many are civilian vehicles hired to deliver supplies, many are military vehicles with military crews.
Facilities in Kuwait, along with five in Iraq, add armor onto these vehicles. Shops in Kuwait also rebuild vehicles damaged in battle or just worn out because of heavy use.
Kuwait also serves as the logistics hub for operations in Afghanistan and Djibouti. "People forget that we have those missions as well," Yuengert said.
Officials are always trying to find ways to make things more efficient. They plan, for example, to open water- bottling plants in Iraq. This would mean fewer convoys on the road and would be easier from a logistics standpoint.
Years from now, when amateurs are studying the strategy used in Operation Iraqi Freedom, professionals will be studying the way logisticians supplied the fighting force.