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Multiple exercises challenge 835th Transportation Battalion. (Team Challenge 2001).

It was multiple ship loadings and simultaneous exercises that brought home the real workload of Team Challenge 2001.

As the last vessel sailed from Okinawa, our final situation report read: Mission Complete.

For us, that pretty much said it all.

All vessels sailed on schedule and all cargo was handled without damage.

The 835th Transportation Battalion had a large role due to the heavy involvement of Okinawa personnel and units in the exercises.

Team Challenge 2001 is a multi-exercise operation that includes Exercise Balikatan in the Philippines, Exercises Tandem Thrust and Freedom Banner in Australia, and Exercise Cobra Gold in Thailand.

The operation also involves Okinawa-based Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps units.

Our work lasted six weeks. It began with the movement of 50 containers in early March, and ended with the April 16 sailing of the Cape Hudson to Thailand.

But the work did not really end there: Some 835th members joined the 599th Deployment Support Team in discharge operations for Cobra Gold in Thailand.

Our involvement in Team Challenge 2001 was in three phases.

The initial phase was the movement of 50 containers for Exercise Balikatan in March from Aja Commercial Port in Naha, Okinawa.

"Our personnel were responsible for booking the cargo for shipment and coordinating the inland movement of the containers to the port through the Common User Land Transportation contract," said Foster Robers, Chief, Cargo Management Division.

The containers were loaded onto the Maersk Sealand Endurance for the first leg of a voyage that would end in Manila.

The next phase was loading more than 940 pieces of military cargo for the two exercises in Australia.

The cargo was moved from nine bases on Okinawa to the Naha Military Port. Due to local road restrictions, the cargo had to be moved between midnight and 6 a.m.

After a thorough review by the Australian Quarantine Inspection Service, the equipment was staged, labeled and scanned for receipt.

The first vessel to be loaded was the Maersk Constellation. The 835th loaded 11,250 measurement tons of general cargo and 755 measurement tons of ammunition.

"We loaded her from stem to stern," said Fred Artis, Chief, Terminal Operations Division. "I was a little uneasy towards loading the final pieces onto the Constellation. We had to make sure that everything at the port when she left would fit on the Cape Isabel."

Cape Isabel arrived for loading April 4.

The next day, the Kassel arrived and signaled the last phase of our operation--the most work-intensive efforts for the Team Challenge deployment mission for the 835th Transportation Battalion.

We had to load two vessels simultaneously, for three exercises. Aboard the Cape Isabel and Kassel we loaded a total of 743 pieces of cargo.

"Both communication and teamwork were critical," said Xavier Monroy, Transportation Planning Specialist.

"The three pre-deployment meetings held between U.S. Forces on Okinawa and the 835th Transportation Battalion really proved to be fruitful and less confusing."

The vessels were loaded in three days.

The last vessel to load cargo in support of the Team Challenge 2001 deployment from Okinawa was the Cape Hudson, where we loaded 19 ammunition containers and three empty containers.

"What pleases me most about this operation is the fact that we loaded 190,000 square feet of cargo, and there was not so much as a broken mirror or a scratch in the paint for any of the cargo," says Artis.

The loading operation allowed us to test our new Symbol PDT7240 Scanners.

"This was the first test of the new scanners in a major operation," said Rogers. "The equipment proved to be superior to the old Janus scanners in several ways--they were more durable, more comfortable to hold, more reliable and more powerful."

Also, there were no data losses with the new scanners. The scanners proved to be a valuable part of our cargo processing.

The work of our stevedore contractor, Daichi Koun Company, and our Common User Land Transportation contractor, Oroku Trucking Company, was critical to our success.

Their combined effort produced zero damage to equipment, and flexible hours to accommodate MTMC's mission requirements.

While all this took place, the regular work of the 835th continued.

"The world doesn't stop turning because of Team Challenge," said Rogers. "We have a lot of routine cargo to move at the same time."

Routine cargoes continued to be processed, including household goods, privately owned vehicles and general cargo. Customers serviced included Army-Air Force Exchange Service, Defense Commissary Agency and military services on Okinawa.
By Capt. Jacob H. Freeman
Support Operations Officer
835th Transportation Battalion
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Author:Freeman, Jacob H.
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 1, 2001
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