VICENZA from Italy – The logistics preparation centers in Europe are responsible for a number of logistics support and service activities for the garrisons assigned to them. They are responsible for facility maintenance, transportation, catering, operation of clothing distribution facilities, shipping of personal property, passenger travel, and management of non-tactical vehicles. and garrison equipment.
But in Italy there is one more.
The LRC Italy team – headquartered in Vicenza, Italy, and assigned to the Army’s 405th Field Support Brigade – is responsible for all customs operations supporting the military south of the Alps.
Unlike Germany, for example, where the army’s customs mission at airports is outsourced, LRC Italy directly supports all customs operations, and Scott Frakes leads these operations.
Frakes is the Customs Supervisor in the Transport Division of LRC Italy. Frakes has customs personnel at two sites in Italy, both local civilians and army civilians.
“I have the Vicenza site which covers northern Italy, and I have the Camp Darby site which covers central Italy,” Frakes said. “I have four civilian army customs officers, two local national staff, and about 20 people who have borrowed labor and are being trained by me to help with the agricultural program.”
The customs office of LRC Italy manages the entire customs program of the army stationed south of the Alps. Part of this includes not only working with Italian customs and European customs agencies, but also port agents at all airports and seaports, Frakes said.
“When you go into the Stock Exchange and buy a new pair of pants or go to the commissary and buy meat, you don’t see that all of these things have gone through us. You don’t see everything that has to happen to be able to buy what you need, ”Frakes said.
“It’s the same with tactical equipment – weapons, ammunition – anything that comes into the Vicenza and Camp Darby areas of responsibility goes through us,” Frakes said.
“Everything imported into Italy – COVID-19 vaccines, groceries, trade goods on the PX shelves, military clothing and equipment, household items, military rolling stock and ammunition – must all clear customs,” Keli’i said. Bright, the director of LRC Italy.
“If we do our job well, no one knows we exist, and that’s the good thing,” Frakes said.
“It’s a testament to them,” Bright added. “These are the hidden heroes of Italy.
Another example of the customs scope and responsibility of LRC Italy is the US Mail mission at the airport in Milan, Italy. Frakes and his team take care of this as well as all import and export trade missions. They also take care of all household goods and private vehicle shipments. Agricultural compliance under the Agricultural Pre-Clearance Program, which is managed on behalf of the Customs Executive Agency headquartered in Germany, is an additional responsibility of Frakes and his team.
Each customs clearance agent at LRC Italy is trained and certified to inspect household items, unaccompanied baggage and cargo shipments to ensure they are free of evasive species, soil, seeds, weeds and insects – anything that would constitute a violation of Executive Customs Agency policy, Presidential Decrees or Ministry of Agriculture compliance requirements.
Frustrated freight is also something Frakes and his team are very familiar with. When a shipment is stopped or seized for any reason, it is considered frustrated cargo. If this happens, the customs team at LRC Italy takes action.
“Most of the time, when a cargo is seized at one of the ports, it’s because something is wrong on the invoice,” Frakes said. “It could be just about anything – maybe the description is wrong, the weight is wrong, items are missing, or something has been added to the shipment.”
A good example of a frustrated cargo problem that the customs team responded to and resolved came about when the COVID-19 pandemic initially hit US forces in Italy.
“At first, the COVID-19 vaccines we were receiving from the United States were not authorized in Europe, so my team had to speak with the United States European Command and come to an agreement with the Italian government to obtain permission to import these vaccines and use them at our US facilities in Italy, ”Frakes said.
The fantastic working relationship that LRC Italy’s customs office has with officials from the Italian host country has helped them take responsibility when situations like this arise, Bright said.
“Scott (Frakes) being bilingual in the Venetian dialect has helped us maintain a good reputation through some tough times,” said Bright.
“Unlike most of us in Italy, Scott’s counterparts don’t work for the US government. In any situation and at any time, Italian officials can always say no.
US Army Garrison Italy, US Army Southern European Task Force, 21st Theater Sustainment Command, the Exchange – they all got in line to recognize the criticality of the customs office as everyone’s missions died without them, Keli’i said Bright, director of LRC Italy.
LRC Italy is one of seven LRCs under the command and control of the 405th AFSB. When it comes to providing day-to-day installation services, LRC Italy directs, manages and coordinates a variety of operations and activities in support of the U.S. Army Garrison in Italy. The 405th AFSB is assigned to the US Army Sustainment Command and under the operational control of the 21th Theater Sustainment Command, of the US Army Europe and Africa. The brigade is headquartered in Kaiserslautern, Germany, and provides corporate materiel support to US forces throughout Europe and Africa – providing theater support logistics; synchronize procurement, logistics and technology; and leveraging the US Army Materiel Command’s materiel business to support joint forces. For more information on the 405th AFSB, visit the official website at www.afsbeurope.army.mil and the official Facebook website at www.facebook.com/405thAFSB.