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Following the changing numbers: SDDC and MTMC unit designations 1997-2008.

Two SDDC Transportation Groups gained new official status in 2008. For one Group, the change came with new responsibilities.

The de facto Ammunition Terminal Group (Provisional) at Southport, N.C., became the 596th Transportation Terminal Group (Ammunition) (Provisional) June 15 as the result of an Army Materiel Command order two days earlier. The 596th gained authority over the 834th Transportation Battalion, at Concord, Calif., its sister ammunition terminal on the West Coast.

The 595th TTG (Provisional) officially became the 595th TTG, a full-fledged continuing (Table of Distribution and Allowance) unit October I. While not a matter of enlarged mission, the 595th attained official recognition that it had a continuing mission in Southwest Asia. This organizational adjustment reflected the personnel transition that took place May 6, when Col. Stanley H. Wolosz, II, and the foundation of a continuing staff took the reins of the 595th from Col. Susan A. Davidson and her temporary-duty contingent from the 599th Transportation Group, from Wheeler Army Airfield, Hawaii.

The reemergence of the 595th and 596th, and the new relationship for the 834th, were the latest in a recurring series of realignments since Military Traffic Management Command (MTMC) adopted the current set of numerical unit designations on Oct. 1, 1997.

Change rather than continuity has been the consistent--if not constant--norm. In fact, only two MTMC or SDDC Groups, the 598th Transportation Group, Rotterdam, the Netherlands and the 599th, had the same unit assignment and location in October 2008 that they held 11 years earlier. Half of the 12 transportation battalions in place Oct. 1, 1997, were still there with the same designation 11 years later.

What became of the 595th, 596th, and the 834th before they reached their recent milestones? Why have they have been relocated or inactivated and activated again over the years as circumstances evolved?

After the 1995 Base Realignment and Closure Commission recommendations resulted in the impending closure of the Eastern and Western Area Commands, the 600th Transportation Group moved from Bayonne to Fort Monmouth, N.J., in late 1997, and the 596th Transportation Group moved from Oakland to Concord, California.

The 596th TTG moved to Beaumont, Texas, and the 834th Transportation Battalion flag went from Beaumont to Concord June 1, 1998. The 596th then was placed over the 832nd Transportation Battalion (recently moved from Panama to Puerto Rico), the 833rd in Washington, and the 834th at Concord.

In the summer of 1999, the 595th Transportation Group at Charleston was redesignated the 841st Transportation Battalion, since the support of U.S. Southern Command had been placed on the 832nd Transportation Battalion under the 596th. A month later, the 600th Transportation Group was redesignated the 842nd Transportation Battalion to reflect its diminished role, since both the 841st and 842nd were placed under the 597th at Southport, N.C.

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Two years later, on Sept. 20, 2001, the 596th Transportation Group was inactivated at Beaumont and replaced by the 842nd Transportation Battalion. This move followed the inactivation of the 956th Transportation Company, Anchorage, Alaska, and the transfer of the 956th to Fort Monmouth, which meant the lowering of the 842nd banner in New Jersey on Aug. 24, 2001 prior to its transfer to Beaumont.

Serious issues of cost, efficiency, and military effectiveness lay behind these alterations. Before the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, under the leadership of Maj. Gen. Kenneth Privratsky, MTMC was making a further effort to standardize groups and battalions and consolidate support operations at SDDC headquarters at Alexandria and Fort Eustis, Va., to save money.

As a result, the 597th took charge of all MTMC battalions in the continental United States. The 832nd moved from Puerto Rico to Jacksonville, Fla., in 2003-2004. By 2004, a different dynamic began to prevail. Supporting Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom, as well as the expanded "end-to-end" distribution mission after September 2003, created the need to relieve the 598th Transportation Group of its demanding "additional duty" of managing rotations of troops and equipment to and from Southwest Asia. By October 2004, the Army had approved the de facto establishment of 595th Transportation Group (Provisional) in Kuwait which became official as of Oct. 1, 2005. In January 2005, the 840th Transportation Battalion relocated from Turkey to Iraq.

Likewise, the demands of sustaining two wars and the importance of giving a definite priority to movements of ammunition led Maj. Gen. Charles W. Fletcher, Jr., to decide in July 2005 to relocate the 597th to Fort Eustis and create a separate Ammunition Terminal Group (Provisional) at Southport. His successor, Maj. Gen. Kathleen M. Gainey, proposed placing the 834th under the de facto Group at Military Ocean Terminal, Sunnypoint, North Carolina (MOTSU). When AMC endorsed her proposal pending a further review, the 596th was reactivated as a provisional unit until AMC and the Department of the Army ruled on the change. If the example of the 595th holds true for the 596th, the move from provisional to a fully established unit will not happen swiftly, but SDDC will push ahead in the interim.

By Dr. Kent Beck

SDDC Command Historian
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Title Annotation:Surface Deployment and Distribution Command; Military Traffic Management Command
Author:Beck, Kent
Publication:Translog
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 22, 2009
Words:842
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