841st Trans. Bn. busy on east, west coasts

The 841st Transportation Battalion, 597th Trans. Bde., was multitasking on both sides of the continental United States in May, by simultaneously completing two Army Prepositioned Stocks Afloat, or APS-3, missions, on the east coast and assisting units at the National Training Center on the west coast with their redeployments.

The 841st Transportation Battalion, 597th Trans. Bde., was multitasking on both sides of the continental United States in May, by simultaneously completing two Army Prepositioned Stocks Afloat, or APS-3, missions, on the east coast and assisting units at the National Training Center on the west coast with their redeployments.

By LCDR Anthony Seifert
841st Transportation Battalion

The 841st Transportation Battalion, 597th Trans. Bde., was multitasking on both sides of the continental United States during May, by simultaneously completing two Army Prepositioned Stocks Afloat, or APS-3 missions, on the east coast and assisting units at the National Training Center on the west coast with their redeployments.

The battalion choreographed the upload of 1,294 pieces to USNS Pomeroy and the download of 1456 pieces from USNS Watkins in Charleston, South Carolina, in May.

The Watkins download was significant and much more challenging than the typical APS-3 movement. While it was a real-time mission, it was also being used as the platform for the Joint Task Force-Port Opening exercise, Steel Gator, in Charleston May 15-22.

The exercise scenario required a seaport opening, so a rapid deployable Joint Assessment Team, followed by the remainder of the JTF-PO team, arrived in Charleston and began making arrangements to discharge the cargo and provide aid to the fictional disaster area. Because the ship had to be off-loaded, U.S. Transportation Command pulled all their joint assets together just as they would in a real-world scenario. This provided excellent training, allowing joint partners to work together, which included more than 120 Soldiers and Sailors.  The exercise wrapped up with the Watkins being more than a third empty. Their job done, the JTF-PO team handed off the remainder of the discharge to the 841st Trans. Bn.

While the exercise and APS-3 mission at Charleston was occurring, the battalion also sent their Deployment and Distribution Support Team to Fort Irwin, California, from May 28 to June 10. The DDST provided surface redeployment and distribution support to the 2-25 Stryker Brigade Combat Team and 25th Combat Aviation Brigade from Fort Irwin through the Ports of Long Beach, Oakland and San Diego to support the onward movement and reintegration of equipment at Schofield Barracks and Wheeler Army Airfield, Hawaii.

Their key tasks for the 25th Infantry Division redeployment mission were to:
• Synchronize all major players for assigned mission
• Conduct Mission Essential Task List  training during mission
• Assist 2-25 SBCT and 25th CAB with redeployment planning
• Use the Military Decision Making Process with battalion staff
• Provide technical assistance to ensure documentation accuracy
• Assist with the staging and preparing of unit equipment for surface movement to home station

The 11-member DDST team, combined with two members of Pacific Northwest Detachment and two non-commissioned officers from the 833rd Rapid Port Opening Element, as well as two Coast Guard Contingency Inspection Training and Assistance Teams, or CTATs, inspected and certified 1,699 pieces throughout the 13 days in 100-plus degree temperatures, working 12-plus hour days with zero safety mishaps.

Lt. Col. Brian Memoli, commander of the 841st Trans. Bn., led the way during the mission, ensuring the right people were in the right place at the right time. Following the mission, Memoli said, “The Soldiers and Civilians from the 833rd and 842nd provided outstanding support; and due to the strong support from the 597th Trans. Bde., we were absolutely prepared for this large, labor intensive mission. Because of their expert execution and dedication to the customer, the cargo will clear the multiple ports of embarkation with considerably less friction en route to Hawaii.”

Col. Sean Jenkins, deputy commander of the 25th ID – Support, commended the team’s effort, and wrapped up the mission by presenting a 25th ID coin to Cpl. Denis Ortizrosa, charged with container management for the DDST, for his high energy and positive attitude while providing his unit with outstanding assistance and ensuring all paperwork was correct prior to redeployments.

As if that was not enough for the 841st DDST, six members of the team did a “turn and burn” with one day in Charleston and departed for Fort Bragg for another two-week mission to assist another Army unit with preparing their equipment for deployment.

“All I can say is their performance of mission and dedication to the customer is inspiring,” added Memoli.
After the 25th ID’s equipment sailed across the Pacific Ocean, the 599th Trans. Bde. took over at the receiving end, coordinating the download and onward movement of the unit’s cargo to its final destination.

Editor’s note:
To read more about the next leg of the cargo’s journey, and 599th 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/2014/07/07/599th-assists-2nd-sbct-redeployment/.