Service members’ cars go missing in transit

SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. — Hundreds of U.S. service members are reporting that their privately owned vehicles have gone missing or been damaged while being shipped to and from overseas bases, according to a newspaper report published Saturday.

After months of complaints, the military is sending teams starting this coming week to find the vehicles at supply chain staging areas across the globe, the Belleville News-Democrat reported (http://bit.ly/YhwB7W ). The survey teams are from U.S. Transportation Command, which is run out of Scott Air Force Base in southeastern Illinois and is responsible for air, land and sea transportation for the U.S. Department of Defense.

The actual shipping of the vehicles is handled by International Auto Logistics, a Brunswick, Georgia-based company that the command chose to take over a $1 billion contract. A legal tussle with the previous contractor resulted in a four-month delay in International Auto Logistics starting work.

A company spokeswoman blamed the problems on the large number of vehicles the company has been asked to move in a short time period since finally staring work in May.

“The volume of vehicles IAL has been requested to move from storage and ship in the months of June and July, over 36,000, represent the largest volume for those months in the history of the program,” spokeswoman Amanda Nunez told the newspaper in an email.

One of those who lodged a complaint about a missing car is retired Air Force officer Michelle Kastler, of New Baden, a few miles from Scott Air Force Base. She’s still waiting for her car.

“It’s ridiculous,” Kastler told the newspaper. “I feel it’s kind of like a betrayed trust.”

In preparing to return to Illinois after three years stationed at an Air Force base in Britain, Kastler dropped off her 2012 Hyundai Accent at a British port on May 23. She was promised delivery by July 17.

Now, no one has been able to tell her where the car is, or when she can expect to receive it, she said.

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