Soldiers and civilians with the Qualified Recycling Program are working together to recycle heavy metal waste in their area.

In September 2019, the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) published an operations order directing the turn-in of all excess and unserviceable metal shipping containers. Phase II of Operation Clean Eagle Sweep began this month, and already several units have reached out to the QRP to begin working to clear their footprints of recyclable materials.

The 526th Brigade Support Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, is one of the first groups to reach out to the QRP. On June 12, several teams of Soldiers and QRP workers came together to haul away the metal waste to a scrap yard in Clarksville.

“We hauled big, heavy metal purpose-built platforms out to the scrap vendor,” said Rob Anderson, QRP director. “We had four truckloads of stuff. The material came from a previous deployment. The platforms were made to hold specific equipment in place as it was shipped back to the States.”

Now that they are no longer needed and were occupying space, they reached out to QRP for how they could recycle it.”

Anderson said the material was loaded onto the trucks, transported and unloaded at the scrapyard within two hours. The QRP received approximately $450 for the load, which will be turned into funding for Soldier and Family quality of life projects and events on Fort Campbell.

“I think this is a big impact on Fort Campbell,” Anderson said. “The money we generate from selling eligible scrap materials from the installation is funding available for things on the installation that otherwise do not have funding from any other source. Think of Week of The Eagles, with fireworks and all the activities, or other entertainment events. We put money into the Warrior Zone for Soldiers to enjoy, and we’ve helped improve the recreation facilities on Fort Campbell that otherwise might not have gotten done.”

Chief Warrant Officer 2 Rolando Rodriguez, allied trades warrant officer, 526th Brigade Support Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, worked with Anderson to put together a team of Soldiers to transport the materials to the scrapyard.

“We were asked to help remove metal racks from a container yard and help clear up space for the upcoming rotation to JRTC,” Rodriguez said. “We put a team together and then Mr. Anderson agreed to help provide assistance with turning in the materials at the scrapyard if we could help provide transport of the racks. We coordinated and made it all happen.”

By working together, the Soldiers and civilians accomplished a mutually beneficial project quickly and efficiently.

“Who knows how many days and manhours we saved by working together,” Anderson said. “The Soldiers were very professional, it went quickly and worked well. We showed how well the civilian side of Fort Campbell can work with the military side and do something successfully and positively.”

The Soldiers also felt empowered to not only improve their working areas, but also do something that directly benefits the installation. 

“It’s definitely a new addition to our capabilities, because we can now clean up our own motor pools and areas and then do something that not only benefits our unit, but the other Soldiers and Families of Fort Campbell,” Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez said his unit is already looking forward to working with QRP again in the future.

“It was great to work together as a team, too often I think we forget we have civilian counterparts who are here to help and support us, so it’s great to be able to work with them and see the other side of things,” he said. “I hope we can continue to work together in the future and do things that will benefit across the installation.”

Anderson said other units and services on Fort Campbell can be a part of Operation Clean Eagle Sweep and help the QRP give back to the community.

“I can come to units, look at everything, and let them know what is garbage, what can be recycled, or what should be turned into supply,” Anderson said. “We’re saving military equipment, helping units dispose of their garbage and recyclables, and cleaning up Fort Campbell overall.”

Anderson can be contacted at the Fort Campbell Recycling Center, 6802 A Shau Valley Road, or by phone at 270-798-5695.

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