Longshoremen, a licensing team and a typewriter
December 23, 2008
By Tom Budzyna
SCHINNEN, Netherlands Aca,!" When a U.S. expeditionary force docks hundreds of tactical vehicles in the German port of Bremerhaven, what does it take to ensure the operations run smoothly, an entire command or one garrison office'
Well, both. In this case, the Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command, and the U.S. Army Garrison Schinnen drivers testing and licensing team.
To move vehicles in and out of cargo vessels for deployments and redeployments, longshoremen supporting the SDDC's 950th Transportation Company, located in Bremerhaven, are required to drive just about every military vehicle there is. Therefore, the dock workers received hands-on training (and were licensed to operate more than a dozen tactical vehicles) by a team from U.S. Army Garrison Schinnen, Netherlands.
Such licenses must be renewed every four or five years. And last month, when the 2nd Stryker Regiment from Vilseck, Germany, redeployed through Bremerhaven, a three-man driver's testing and licensing team from Schinnen worked 40 hours in three days to examine, test and issue more than 30 longshoremen licenses for more than a dozen types of vehicles at the port.
The result: the longshoremen completed a mission required to move hundreds of vehicles and other equipment on schedule Aca,!" an easily overlooked task but nonetheless vital to the success of Army operations worldwide.
Anyone who has ever gone through the process and paperwork to get a military license for one tactical vehicle can understand the administrative effort to issue 30 licenses for a dozen types of vehicles. In a word: paperwork. Now, picture this challenge being accomplished with a good old fashioned Aca,!A"Y2K compliantAca,!A? typewriter.
Wauter Vermeulen, Schinnen's testing station manager, led the team from the garrison's Directorate of Logistics, which was joined by Jo Sjollema, a seasoned tracked vehicle licensing expert from a logistical support unit in Eygelshoven, Netherlands, in getting the job done.
In the same way a ship crew files a neat stack of paperwork to account for equipment transported on each vessel, VermeulenAca,!a,,cs licensing team, after 40 hours of training and examining, produced an organized stack of records to document the driving credentials of some 30 longshoremen who support the the 950th Trans CO.
The 950th falls under the 838th Transportation Battalion of SDDC's 598th Terminal Transportation Group. The 950th manages water terminal operations for U.S. European Command and U.S. Central Command to sustain combat power to combatant commanders, and receives some of its base operations support from USAG Schinnen.
"The longshoremen are continuously employed by the 950th Transportation Company to load and discharge U.S. forces deploying and redeploying unit equipment from and to seagoing vessels," says Maj. Scott Reed, the company's commander, "and the equipment is then moved to various kinds of inland transportation modes."
"Vermeulen's team provided excellent services. He supported us with great enthusiasm and professionalism," says Reed.
Vermeulen's team oversees the issuance of licenses for military and privately owned vehicles for U.S. personnel stationed in the Netherlands.