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Rehearsals key to mission success.


In March, a key unit move took place on the Korean Peninsula that affected the strategic deployment of air power in this theater. In the planning phases for almost three years, the 1-2 Attack Reconnaissance Battalion, a subordinate unit of the 2nd Combat Aviation Brigade at Camp Humphries, was ordered to move to its new home at Fort Carson, Colo., and begin training to deploy later next year.

Since most units in Korea are not yet part of the Army Force Generation deployment cycles, unit moves as large as this one are rare. The 602nd Aviation Support Battalion was tasked to plan, support and execute the movement of unit equipment from Camp Humphries to the Port of Busan. Then, as the single port manager for Korea, the 837th Transportation Battalion received, staged and loaded all unit cargo at Pier 8 in Busan aboard the commercial vessel, MV Green Dale.

"It was a tremendous opportunity for us to demonstrate our total commitment, dependability and relentless pursuit of excellence in support of the 2nd Infantry Division warfighter," said Lt. Col. Tripp Blanton, 837th Trans. Bn. commander.

One of the immediate challenges associated with this mission was ensuring that coordinating and executing units understood the standards for ocean cargo shipments and the steps required to make certain all unit equipment was prepared, inspected and loaded properly. In addition to the education process for a deploying unit, continuity of key players was a struggle as well. Since many tours of duty in Korea are still only one year in length, identifying and synchronizing planning efforts needed to be done very deliberately and far ahead of the execution timeline.

The 602nd ASB hosted several in-progress reviews leading up to a rehearsal of concept drill hosted by the 837th at Pier 8 thirty days before the ship's arrival. The rehearsal was attended by the assistant division commander for support of the 2nd Infantry Division, Col. James Creighton. The event provided an opportunity for leaders from all supporting units to sit face-to-face and walk through the mission from aircraft arrival to ship's departure. Each unit briefed its responsibilities from the timeline, highlighting crucial points of execution that would take place.


"This rehearsal was a total success for both units," commented Maj. David Law, Delta Company Commander for the 602nd ASB. "It allowed for us to get everyone on the same page."

Following the ROC drill mission analysis, the 602nd ASB conducted another "aircraft reception" and "blade-team" rehearsal the day before the aircraft arrived. This event improved Soldiers' confidence in their ability to safely receive and stage multiple aircraft simultaneously alongside the pier. Since both rolling-stock cargo and aircraft were being received at the same time, it was important all Soldiers and civilians were aware of established traffic patterns and 837th safety standard operating procedures (SOPs). Both of these rehearsals left every leader, Soldier and contractor confident in the plan.

The MV Green Dale arrived at Pier 8 March 17. The 837th "Kargo Kings" terminal operations team, led by Lou Lansangan, terminal operations chief, loaded 418 pieces onboard the vessel over the next two days, including 24 Apache attack helicopters. Because of the rehearsals of the upload, the team was able to safely conduct simultaneous discharge and upload of rolling stock and Apaches. This process allowed for a more efficient upload and saved lead time over the course of the operation.

The 602nd ASB used three load teams for the helicopters: one team to bring the aircraft to the top of the ship's ramp, another to pull the aircraft into its stow location and the last team to tie down the helicopter. This process sped up the loading significantly and kept personnel and equipment utilized at all times.

"In terms of efficiency, teamwork, and planning, the mission was a complete success," said Law. "Prior coordination paid off and both units agreed that rehearsals played a huge part in this achievement."

Maj. Gen. John Morgan, the 2nd Infantry Division commander, visited the operation and said he was pleased with SDDC's capability to leverage commercial assets to support the warfighter.

"SDDC makes it look easy for us, and it's greatly appreciated," Morgan said as he departed Pier 8.

By Capt. Brian Young, 837th Transportation Battalion
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Author:Young, Brian
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 22, 2009
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