599th assists 2nd SBCT redeployment

Cranes lift off Strykers from the Matsonia at Honolulu's Pier 52 as part of the redeployment June 18 of the Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division from the National Training Center in Fort Irwin, Calif. (U.S. Army photo)

Cranes lift off Strykers from the Matsonia at Honolulu’s Pier 52 as part of the redeployment June 18 of the Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division from the National Training Center in Fort Irwin, Calif. (U.S. Army photo)

By Donna Klapakis
599th Transportation Brigade Public Affairs

WHEELER ARMY AIRFIELD, Hawaii — The 599th Transportation Brigade is facilitating return of the 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, in its redeployment cargo and equipment from National Training Center from June-August.

Members of the 599th who are working the move noted that coordination with interested parties was the key to success.

John Fisher, shipper quality control regional office chief said, “In conjunction with 25th ID, we are tracking all cargo from the port to the installation, and we act as the liaison between the carriers and the shipper.”

“The 599th has been working communications between, and coordinating with carriers, the units, and the port support at Pearl Harbor and commercial carriers to make the moves in this operation as seamless as possible,” said David Bertao, 599th Trans. Bde. traffic management specialist.

“The 599th’s role is to serve as the Department of Defense’s single port manager for ports in the Pacific Command,” said Carlos Tibbetts, 599th terminals management team chief. “We liaise with the units and track incoming cargo. We also send transportation management specialists to the ports to assist.”

The first ship arrived June 8 at Honolulu Harbor Pier 52, and by the time all cargo and equipment is offloaded, about 1,650 pieces will have redeployed.

Each ship is on its own schedule; the carriers bid for and were awarded the contracts to move the cargo under the provisions of the Jones Act. Military cargo was added to vessels that had already been scheduled to come to Hawaii.

Deputy director of operations for the 599th Trans. Bde, Daniel Martinez, appreciated the chance to broaden the unit’s horizons by participating in such a big operation.

“This NTC Redeployment was a good opportunity to remind us of the significant coordination that’s required across all logistical partners to ensure a successful move occurs,” Martinez said. “In particular this was the first time in recent memory that a brigade-size element was moved utilizing an entirely commercial solution, requiring space in nine commercial vessels for deployment and upwards of 20-plus commercial vessels for the redeployment.”

The 836th Transportation Battalion and the Guam Detachment also sent a four-person deployment and distribution management team to Hawaii from June 11-21. The team inventoried cargo on the docks June 17 after it had been offloaded at Pearl Harbor, and they spent several days training Fleet Logistics Center Pearl Harbor personnel in tracking systems necessary for manifesting military cargo: the Global Air Transportation Execution System and CK61 handheld scanners.

The team appreciated the chance to get to know Pearl Harbor personnel, said team member Pedro “Pete” Lujan, 836th Transportation Battalion terminal operations chief.

“This was a great opportunity to work with the Pearl Harbor personnel and to enhance our good relationship with them,” Lujan said. “To ensure continuity, we also gave them telephone numbers for our team members in Guam so that if they have any trouble, they can call them anytime for help.”

Martinez said he looks forward to capitalizing on the lessons learned during the operations.

“We will be relooking at processes across the logistical spectrum to ensure that we achieve a seamless move process all the way through to the payment to our commercial partners, an initiative known across SDDC POST-PB (Plan, Order, Ship, Track, Pay, Bill). Whether future deployments occur purely through commercial partners or using Military Sealift Command assets, end-to-end auditability will be key to complying with Department of the Army and Office of the Secretary of Defense mandates,” he said.

(Editor’s note: For all the photos associated with this operation, visit SDDC on Flickr at https://www.flickr.com/photos/hqsddc/sets/72157645563764745/.)  To read more about the first leg of the cargo’s journey, and 597th Trans. Bde’s role in redeploying the 25th ID from NTC, check out the article published in SDDC’s online magazine, TRANSLOG: http://translog.armylive.dodlive.mil/2014/07/08/841st-trans-bn-busy-on-east-west-coasts).