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On move to NTC: 599th Transportation Group works alongside commercial partners to move equipment.

Preparing Soldiers for war can a daunting task, but with the help of Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command commercial partners, getting the equipment there can be one less burden for unit commanders.

In April more than 5,000 Soldiers from the 25th Infantry Division based at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, deployed to the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, Calif., to prepare for their upcoming year of combat duty in Iraq; taking with them more than 1,700 pieces of equipment ranging from containers to Chinook helicopters.

With the assistance of carriers Pasha Hawaii Transport Lines, Matson Navigation and Horizon Lines, as well as the support of Soldiers and civilians from the 599th Transportation Group, the equipment received end-to-end visibility and management.

"The last segment of the end-to-end visibility from Continental United States ports to Fort Irwin was a joint effort between the Group and the 834th Transportation Battalion out of Concord, Calif.," said Rich Wilson, 599th Transportation Group deputy assistant chief of staff for operations. "Jointly manned Deployment and Distribution Support Teams closely monitored vessel discharge and linehaul operations."

Vessel uploads took place between April 2 and 16 at the ports of Honolulu and Fleet Industrial Supply Center Pearl Harbor for onward movement through ports at Long Beach, Calif. and San Diego to the final destination at the Army desert combat training facility.

"This training rotation is critical as the 25th heads over to the OIF combat zone almost immediately after they return to Hawaii," said Col. Kathi Kreklow, 599th Transportation Group commander. "The ability to move their cargo to meet the requested delivery date is the prime driver in synchronizing the training schedule to ensure equipment is available to use on day one--one day late impacts readiness and a missed opportunity to prepare our Soldiers for battle."

"For the 599th, this is where we add value to the warfighter, ensuring what they need gets there when they need it," she said. "If we execute our core competency with precision, the 25th doesn't have to worry about getting their stuff on time and can focus on preparing for war; it's that simple."

SDDC teams ensure complete management of surface movement and offer expert experience to service components during moves such as this. "Having the 834th located in California is ideal for covering down on NTC rotations from Hawaii; they are highly efficient surface distribution managers who are familiar with the strict state regulatory requirements," said Wilson.

Maj. Andrew Preston, executive officer for the 3rd Brigade, said the support of the carriers and 599th team will assist in accomplishing successful training for this summer's mission. Nearly 3,000 of the Soldiers participating in the training are from the 3rd Brigade.

They are joined by 480 soldiers from the 25th Infantry Division's 2nd Brigade Combat Team, and an additional 1,000 pilots from the 25th Infantry Division's Combat Aviation Brigade along with 60 Black Hawk, CH-47 Chinook and UH-58 Kiowa Warrior helicopters from Wheeler Army Air Field.

The National Training Center is designed to focus on counterinsurgency training. NTC trains the transformed Army by conducting force-on-force and live-fire training for ground and aviation brigades in a joint scenario across the spectrum of conflict, using a live-virtual-constructive training model, as portrayed by a highly lethal and capable Opposing Force and controlled by an expert and experienced Operations Group.

The brigade and its joint partners use the full complement of its combat, combat support and combat service support systems in an expanded NTC maneuver area that has multiple urban operations sites and portrays the complexity and human dimension of the modern battlefield. NTC has a post-mobilization mission as a center capable of accepting, training, and deploying divisions or separate brigades.

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Author:Mack, Robin
Date:Jun 22, 2006
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