USMC Reserves test tracking system in Africa - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

USMC Reserves test tracking system in Africa

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April 7, 2008

Albany -- Getting supplies to troops on the battlefield can be a life and death situation.

Three south Georgia Marine Reservists returned home Monday from a 26 day mission to West Africa to field test a new supply tracking system that could be put to use on the battlefields of Iraq.

Not only was the mission vital to test the system, it also delivered vital supplies to communities in need.

Lance Corporal Derek Fuller's digital camera caught it best, village streets in Liberia lined with smiling faces, both children and adults, all in desperate need of medical supplies.

"I think 95 percent of it was medical supplies going to hospitals we also delivered to a school. We delivered chairs, a desk, cabinets, things like that," said Fuller. 

This mission also served a higher purpose to test a new supply tracking system. One used by UPS, to ensure needed supplies on the battlefield arrive when they should.

"While we were over there we were testing out the system, labeling the gear, so that as we sent it out on convoys we were able to determine where the gear was," said Marine Reservist Sgt. Brandon Smith.

It's technology that could be headed to the battlefields of Iraq. "They can track the gear so that troops that are in theatre in Iraq when they order certain gear they have an idea where it's at or where it was ordered from or where it's supposed to be going," Smith said.

Three south Georgia Marines say the mission was a success and it's made them appreciate what they've got here in south Georgia.

"Getting to see as far as how much they appreciate everything, what it does for them and how different, how much better we have it in the United States as compared to what they have in Africa is definitely eye opening," says Marine Reservist PFC Travis Carlisle.

Eye opening to see how they can better track supplies while helping less fortunate communities.

The 26 day mission included over 100 Navy sailors and 30 Marine Reservists.

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