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Automated stow planning gets ready for big leap.

Craig Messervy's gaze falls tar beyond the South Carolinian. low-country setting of the 841st Transportation Battalion.

Messervy--one of MTMC's best-known stow planners--is looking far beyond the sea off Charleston. A vision is forming for Messervy and his partner, Marty Lambert, an information management specialist from MTMC Headquarters Alexandria.

In his gaze, Messervy sees MTMC transporters having greatly amplified stow data and detail for the equipment carried aboard the Military Sealift Command's mammoth Large, Medium-Speed, Roll-on/Roll-off Ships, sailing the seas of the world.

The expanded electronic information on the automated stow planning, or the Integrated Computerized Deployment System, will transform MTMC transportation efficiencies worldwide.

Laborious paper documents will be electronic in the near future, said Messervy. Stow planning will be enhanced to include such factors as the original plan and final plan. The final plan will be coupled with data on the productivity of longshoremen.

"All electronic--all virtual," said Messervy. "We're about to add Excel-type data collection directly to the Integrated Computerized Deployment System.

"It will be a wonderful tool--a historical tool in electronic version that can be sent to other units."

The existing deployment software has had a tremendous workout in Charleston in October and November. Incredibly, three Large, Medium-Speed, Roll-on/ Roll-off vessels in succession have been called on the 841st Transportation Battalion within a 13-day period.

Messervy's planning section rushed into action. Stow plans were developed for the War on Terrorism cargoes for the USNS Bob Hope and the USNS Fisher. Yet another stow plan was developed for the USNS Watkins, scheduled for an Army Prepositioned Stocks-3 Load.

The challenge: Could MTMC move an additional 70 20-foot containers of ammunition?

Messervy pondered the issue and then made rapid cargo recalculations. Multiple tanker trucks were moved up from the Fisher load to the Bob Hope load--scheduled for arrival on the evening of Oct. 21.

"I moved more tanker trucks to the Bob Hope than the calculations showed," said Messervy. "It's better to get them out in the first ship, then hope it all fits on the second ship.

"The one thing you don't want is cargo left on the dock."

As dawn broke on Oct. 22, getting that cargo aboard the Bob Hope was the job of Clark Chambers, operations chief.

Chambers, an Army veteran with 15 years of transportation service since he retired from active duty, draws top praise from Lt. Col. Kent Selby, commander.

"He's the most knowledgeable man in loading a Large, Medium-Speed, Roll-on/Roll-Off Ship in the country," said Selby.

Chambers is a natural for the job. As a soldier, Chambers served at five different MTMC ports, including Sunny Point, N.C.; Rotterdam, the Netherlands; and Cape Canaveral, Fla. Now, as a civilian employee, he is still in the thick of defense transportation.

In Charleston, Chambers gets Large, Medium-Speed, Roll-on/Roll-Off Ships--lots of them. Since the construction began on the fleet in the mid-1990s, Chambers figures the 841st has loaded or unloaded as many as 30.

"That's more than any other MTMC port," said Chambers.

Transporters did an excellent job loading the Bob Hope. The actual loading time of 1,050 pieces of equipment was just over 38 hours. The military's standard of loading and unloading the huge ships is 48 hours.

The success in loading the ships is a tribute to his port's industry-labor-military partnership, said Selby.

"Here in Charleston, the partnership works," said Selby. "I consider labor as part of my team here--part of our planning process as well as the execution."

Additional assistance came from local Army Reserve units. Some 25 transporters with the 1182nd Transportation Battalion and the 1189th Transportation Terminal Brigade, both of Charleston, assisted the cargo movement.

"We're very fortunate here to be co-located with the 1182nd and 1189th," said Selby. "We also get Reserve units who come here for annual training, and Reserve units who are our Wartrace partners."

Use of Army Reserve troops is essential, said Maj. Richard Wasserman, cargo documentation chief, of the 1174th Transportation Battalion, of Flushing, N.Y.

"They simply have no choice," said Wasserman, who assisted a media visit on the Bob Hope. "They can't do it without us."

The work pace had no letup in Charleston.

On Oct. 26, several days after the Bob Hope was loaded, the Fisher arrived for cargo loading. Six days later, it was the turn of the Watkins for the hard-driving transporters of the 841st.
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Article Details
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Author:Randt, John
Publication:Translog
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 1, 2003
Words:728
Previous Article:Industry Day: learning from industry first hand.
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