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Spotlight on the 833rd Transportation Battalion: highlighting SDCC's transportation battalions around the world.

The 833rd Transportation Terminal Battalion, located in Seattle, Wash., is commanded by Lt. Col. Lydia Reeves. I traveled to the Port of Tacoma, where the 833rd was uploading Strykers for movement to the Middle East Area of Responsibility, and spoke with Reeves about her battalion.

Translog: How many employees do you have and what types of jobs do they do?

Lt. Col. Reeves: The 833rd is authorized 20 civilians and six military personnel. Currently we have 15 civilians and six military onboard. The responsibilities fall into two categories: terminal operations and traffic/ cargo management. The terminal operations section is responsible for the planning, managing, supervising, executing and ensuring the safety and security of the upload and discharge of vessels that call upon the Pacific Northwest. The traffic/cargo management section is responsible for the documentation and management of cargo using the Worldwide Port System (WPS). The traffic/cargo management section also supports requirements for ammo, sustainment, the Army and Air Force Exchange Service, shipment of privately owned vehicles and household goods shipments into Alaska.

Translog: Describe your Area of Responsibility.

Reeves: Our area of responsibility encompasses Washington and Oregon. Additionally, we support the 599th Transportation Terminal Group (TTG) as they assume command and control responsibilities for Alaska.

Translog: What is the 833rd's mission, in a nutshell?

Reeves: To ship, customs clear, and track DoD cargo effectively, efficiently and safely from the Pacific Northwest ports.

Translog: How does the 833rd, given that mission, fit into SDDC as a whole?

Reeves: We are one of the CONUS battalions under the 597th TTG, which provides customer service within our geographically assigned area. In addition, we provide FEMA Region X movement support, and coordination for U.S. NORTHCOM, Combatant Commander for Domestic Support Operations.

Translog: How is the 833rd important to the Warfighter?

Reeves: The 833rd provides services for single port management and cargo research within the Defense Transportation System. Additionally, we advise/train the installation organizations on the deployment process. We receive their cargo into the port and ensure shipment to destination on Military Sealift Command (MSC) vessels. When joint cargo is stalled for customs clearance into the U.S., we coordinate with the U.S. Coast Guard, local officials, and the Department of Homeland Security, as required, in order to get the cargo cleared. We work with the Maritime Administration to establish and review standards for Port Readiness at the Strategic Port of Tacoma. We coordinate for ILWU labor when conducting port operations; this prevents us from having large port support activity requirements from Soldiers. We secure and document cargo for movement into the combat theater and we assist the installations with documentation and movement discipline within the Defense Transportation System.

Translog: What is your personal command philosophy?

Reeves: Given the strategic nature of this region, we must remain knowledgeable and maintain good relationships with all ports. Our support to the Fort Lewis Power Generation Platform and our proximity to Asia mean that we must be prepared to open multiple ports for simultaneous operations in support of any Asian Contingency movements. Our civilians harbor the bulk of the organizational expertise and workload. When needed for exercise or wartime deployments, we receive augmentation from our SDDC reserve component units.

Translog: What is unique about the 833rd?

Reeves: The 833rd TTB has multiple ports capable of supporting and conducting military movements. Besides residing in the greenbelt of the beautiful Pacific Northwest, the 833rd is unique in that we are mobile; every mission for the 833rd is a deployment within CONUS. We do not have a "home port" from which we reside for daily business and for the conduct of movements. Through this mobility, we have been able to exercise numerous local ports, such as, the Port of Everett, Port of Grays Harbor, the Port of Olympia, and the Port of Tacoma. Until recently, we provided all movement services and bookings for Alaska. Although we have relinquished command and control of Alaska on a daily basis, we continue to support requirements for ammunition, sustainment, AAFES, POVs, and household goods shipments into Alaska.

Translog: What is the biggest challenge that the 833rd faces?

Reeves: Our greatest challenge is manpower. In our current times, we have experienced manpower replacement delays that make supporting operational requirements difficult. Augmentation is usually integrated with very short notice, and our SDDC programs for improved mentorship and reserve component affiliation/training are just starting to gain momentum. In SDDC, we have a very technical business that requires detailed training in order to become fully capable for performing operations. We must understand the TTPs within TCAIMS II that effect WPS and IBS. We must prepare to transition to GATES. We must understand the relationship between WPS TTPs and the effects on CBS. We must understand how the Warfighter uses JOPES and the associated ULN's--not TCNs--to plan and track their operational movements; we must track this information as well using, IBS, IBS-CMM, WPS, MCS3, and PAT. We have no security forces, yet we have an environment in the Pacific Northwest where the anti-war sentiment is high, and people choose to demonstrate in ways which may negatively impact the security and safety of our operations; therefore, we require the assistance of port security and local law enforcement in order to maintain the continuity and integrity of our vessel loading operations.

Translog: What is your battalion's greatest accomplishment?

Reeves: Most of the shipments for Alaska originate from Seattle, Wash. Alaska, as a region, has limited road and rail networks. When shipping goods into Alaska, we must know and adhere to state guidelines for transportation regarding weight limitations and seasonal restrictions. We annually perform import and export transactions for approximately 1,500 sailings for Alaska alone. This number is increasing with transformation events that are taking place in this joint region.

Translog: What is the one thing you want people to know about the 833rd?

Reeves: We are "Proud To Be--the 833! For Transportation Excellence." I believe the 833rd has a long history of being capable of resolving complex transportation dilemmas related to the Pacific Northwest and Alaska theaters. We are not afraid to challenge our headquarters to make changes or provide feedback that will better support us out here in the field--whether we're in Seattle, Concord, Beaumont, Charleston or Jacksonville.

Interview and photos by Michelle Cain

SDDC Headquarters, Alexandria
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Author:Cain, Michelle
Article Type:Interview
Date:Mar 22, 2007
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