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598th commanders conference held in Holland.

Setting out a structure for the future was the common goal that brought together battalion and company commanders, terminal managers and additional 598th Transportation Terminal Group staff for a three-day conference in Capelle aan den IJssel, The Netherlands.

"The purpose of the conference is to streamline operations and get us all focused accordingly on the way ahead," said Col. Gary R. Stanley, commander of the 598th Transportation Terminal Group, Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

"We have a high operational tempo and a busy workload. Our area of operations cover Europe, Africa and a part of South West Asia which means that most of the time we do business using phone and e-mail," said Stanley.

Stanley opened the conference Oct. 13, 2004 by informing attendees about what's expected from the 598th leadership and workforce in the near future.

"Operations must be standardized with the understanding that any operation is unique yet similar. We must be prepared to be flexible, and be prepared to execute operations in areas outside our day-to-day area of operations, when required," said Stanley. "This applies to our entire workforce, military, Department of the Army Civilians and the large number of host nation civilians."

All four battalion commanders and terminal managers presented their own specific battalion issues requiring resolution. In follow-up sessions, issues such as the streamlining of container management and stevedoring contracts, visibility of freight in the World Port System, and personnel training were discussed extensively.

Lt. Col. Wally Gonzalez, commander of the 838th Transportation Battalion and his personnel briefed recent Operation Iraqi Freedom operations in Antwerp, Belgium, which will now serve as a template for future port operations.

It's the command's goal to standardize operations as much as possible so all members of the 598th understand the standard when deployed to execute operations in any port within the area of responsibility, said Gonzalez.

"We understand that every port is different due its characteristics and local rules; however, there are some basic port operations functions that must be conducted regardless of location, for example, safety measures, documentation procedures, stow plan coordination, etc. In today's Army where each and every employee and Soldier is a player contributor, it is important that when 598th personnel deploy, they hit the ground running because they know how to conduct port operations regardless of the location," said Gonzalez.

Lt. Col. Pat Lyons, commander of the 840th Transportation Battalion, Turkey, siad his primary focus is to define and refine his new mission in Kuwait and prepare for the permanent relocation of his headquarters from Izmir, Turkey to Kuwait.

"This conference allows for 'frank' discussions to occur utilizing the vast experience of all the attendees. This is not the first time that a SDDC unit has found itself moving to a new location and it certainly won't be the last," said Lyons, adding, "Our mission has always been to support the needs of the warfighter and those needs change in both scope and location. This requires a continual evaluation and readjustments as necessary."

Bram de Jong, Command Affairs Officer

598th Transportation Terminal Group
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Author:de Jong, Bram
Geographic Code:4EUNE
Date:Jan 1, 2005
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