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599th Trans Grp supports 25th annual Cobra Gold Exercise.

As the 25th annual Cobra Gold Exercise kicked off in Sattahip, Thailand, it was evident that this year would be no different in terms of success for the 599th Transportation Group's Deployment and Distribution Support Team. Under the direction of Lt. Col. Todd Wolf, 835th Transportation Battalion and DDST commander, the members of the 599th played a vital role in the exercise, offering seamless port management by performing port and vessel operations, cargo documentation, and in-transit visibility using Radio Frequency Identification tags.

The DDST, comprised of servicemembers and Department of the Army civilians from the 599th Transportation Group and its subordinate battalions, participated in two phases of the exercise.

During the deployment phase, the team embarked on the major task of discharging and dispositioning 641 pieces of cargo from the MV Cape Horn and 81 pieces of cargo from the MV Scan Bothnia at the Port of Chuk Samet--nearly 18,400 measurement tons of cargo. Additionally, the team discharged and dispositioned 36 ammunition containers at the Port of Thung Prung.

According to Sgt. 1st Class Greg Holsclaw, 599th Transportation Group and DDST team member, "The team focused on safe vessel operations, rapid port clearance and staging, and accurate documentation throughout the entire mission."

On both phases of Cobra Gold, safety was a main concern for the DDST. The DDST Commander's Safety Representative, Capt. Jasmine Peterson, took several measures to ensure the team conducted accident and incident-free operations, to include conducting daily safety briefs, risk assessments for all operations, and ensuring the working environment was safe and all hazards were mitigated.

"Safety is our No. 1 concern while acting as the Single Port Manager for any port operation. Everyone is a safety officer on our team, and I was pleased to see that all members did their part in ensuring all aspects of the operations were conducted safely," she said.

With the motivation of success around them, the 599th team redirected their attention to the redeployment stage of Cobra Gold. For this phase, the team of people from the 599th and 835th, 836th and 837th Transportation Battalions, concentrated their efforts on getting cargo back to its home station with the help of the MV Capt Horn.

"The team loaded a total of 790 pieces of cargo onto the Cape Horn during the redeployment phase, amounting to a total of 18,766 measurement tons," said Wolf, "This was more than we had originally offloaded because 52 pieces were already in place at the Port of Laem Chabang before operations started."

Overall the team worked a larger amount of cargo in the redeployment phase of the operation. Cargo that arrived in Thailand on the Westpac Express, the Third Marine Expeditionary Force's High Speed Vessel, redeployed on the Cape Horn as well, adding even more cargo to the original amount.

"The DDST was faced with the challenging task of shifting cargo and data from its original means of transportation, all while maintaining 100 percent visibility," said Wolf. "And they did it expertly. The DDST met the challenge head on and was successful in its mission to return all cargo to its home station."

"What was most impressive about Phase I and II of Cobra Gold 05 was the way in which everyone came together and utilized their combined skills and experiences in order to overcome any obstacles and successfully complete the mission," be said. "Team work was the name of the game from day one, and all cargo was handled safely and efficiently."

Taking full advantage of the knowledge and expertise within the Group, the 599th DDST was able to conduct safe and efficient vessel operations and have already begun planning for process improvements for next year's exercise.

Cobra Gold is an ongoing combined and joint exercise conducted between Thailand and the U.S. military that facilitates maintaining stability and peace throughout the U.S. Pacific Command area of responsibility.

Story and photos by Aviana G. Detmongkhonh

835th Transportation Battalion
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Title Annotation:Cobra Gold Exercise
Author:Detmongkhonh, Aviana G.
Date:Sep 22, 2005
Previous Article:599th shares lessons learned from duty in Southwest Asia.
Next Article:New liner service keeps deployment cargo moving.

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