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Half a world away ...: army moves equipment from Korea for Operation Iraqi Freedom duty.

The Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command played a unique role in the unprecedented move of a 2nd Infantry Division task force from Korea to Operation Iraqi Freedom.

The command loaded the task force's equipment in Pusan, Korea, and discharged it in Ash Shuiaba, Kuwait.

The move of troops deployed in Korea to another hot spot in the world is unprecedented in the half-century American military presence in Korea. The troops represent approximately 10 percent of United States military forces in Korea. Upon the completion of their tour in Iraq, the Soldiers will return to the United States.

Transporters discharged 1,700 pieces of cargo from the Cape Hudson and Cape Horn for use by the brigade's 3,600 Soldiers. Meanwhile, an additional 80 containers of ammunition for the task force were unloaded from the Cape Inscription.

The vessels were loaded by the 837th Transportation Battalion, Pusan, Korea, and discharged by the 595th Transportation Group (Provisional), Ash Shuaiba, Kuwait.

During a 10-day period in August, with temperatures hovering over 120 F, 595th Soldiers offloaded the 2nd Infantry Division's equipment.

"Our team knew not only the historic significance of the 2nd Infantry Division deployment into Southwest Asia, but the overall objective of the mission, which was to offload their equipment quickly and support their war fighting efforts in Iraq," said Col. Tom Harvey, 595th commander.

"I was extremely proud of our team during the discharge," said Harvey. "We were able to exceed our commitments to offload their equipment in a timely manner."

Warfighter liaison with SDDC was provided by Maj. Sam Floyd, of the 2nd Infantry Division. Floyd termed SDDC work in the complex movement as exceptional.

"It was a great feeling knowing that all the preparation we did greatly affected the positive outlook and readiness of our soldiers," said Floyd. "We took the same approach to our preparation in Kuwait as we would have in South Korea.

"Although the focus on the Korean mission has changed, the Soldiers are prepared to refocus their attention to a new theatre and do what they are trained for."

The division sent 150 port support activity Soldiers to Kuwait to assist the discharge.

"This gave the other troops the opportunity to concentrate on their field training," he said.

Floyd termed the equipment movement by SDDC as exceptional.

The load out from Korea in late July was equally successful, said Lt. Col. Rich Kramer, 837th commander.

"As a whole, this is one of the most successful deployments this theater has seen in some time," said Kramer. "From the United States Forces Korea staff down to the deploying unit, I couldn't be happier with the support and coordination provided to this operation."

Soldiers with the 20th Area Support Group and the 1-38th Field Artillery Battalion supported the transporters.

NCOs said advance planning was essential for the mission's success.

"This was a great opportunity to assist the deploying unit on all facets of deployment operations and it gave the battalion a chance to conduct the harder tasks of deploying a unit rather than receiving a unit,"

Sgt. 1st Class Gerald Sprague, 837th operations NCO, had an unusual view of the operation. He helped toad the vessels in Korea and then--reassigned to the 595th in Kuwait--helped discharge the vessels at the other end.

The veteran NCO is one of a number of SDDC Soldiers detailed to work at the port of Ash Shuaiba, Kuwait.

Cdr. Randall Ramian, Public Affairs Officer, 595th Transportation Group and Maj. Terry Draper, Executive Officer, 837th Transportation Battalion
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Author:Draper, Terry
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 22, 2004
Previous Article:New unit signals greater SDDC deployment role in Southwest Asia.
Next Article:OIF III move: 42nd Infantry Division National Guard makes history--again.

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