Have you heard about the Fusion Cell?
Soldiers of the 53rd Transportation Battalion (Movement Control), 7th Sustainment Brigade gather for a group photograph outside the fusion cell where they work at Joint Base Balad, Iraq. The Soldiers are deployed to Iraq for one year in support of Operation New Dawn. (U.S. Army Photo by 2nd Lt. Ebony Thomas)

JOINT BASE BALAD, Iraq " Imagine a room full of computers and that it is not in a local office building but in a facility resembling a warehouse surrounded by thick concrete slabs, and oh, by the way, it is located in Iraq.

You quietly walk through the room, the sound of Soldier’s fingers furiously typing away, their eyes zeroed in on a screen, engulfed in the day’s mission.

Welcome to the Fusion Cell, the place where a group of Soldiers and civilians assigned to the 53rd Transportation Battalion (Movement Control), 7th Sustainment Brigade, and the 310th Expeditionary Sustainment Command (ESC) conduct 24-hour operations while deployed to Joint Base Balad.

Major James Peckham, the battalion’s operation’s officer, is in the midst of his fifth deployment and knows a great deal about the fusion cell and its many responsibilities.

“The fusion cell is a distribution management center for the 310th ESC,” said Peckham. “The ESC’s responsibility is to manage the flow of commodities. Soldiers working in the fusion cell validate requests and bounce those requests based on their priority. The next step is to assign the requests to a sustainment brigade so they can be moved.”

Row after row of desks and computer workstations fill the main room of the cell. The Soldiers working here are responsible for all logistical movement within the Iraqi Theater of Operation, and every convoy traveling south to Kuwait.

The responsibility to coordinate the distribution of food, fuel, water, and repair parts lies in the hands of these Soldiers. As if that monumental task wasn’t enough add in the work required to facilitate the movement of large equipment and general cargo, there is no shortage of logistic operations.

Soldiers and civilians work together to coordinate the transportation requirements via a Movement Request. These MRs, or TMRs, are submitted by all military services requiring transportation support. Many of the units deployed to Iraq do not have enough flatbed trucks to move their own equipment. This is when the troops of the mighty 53rd step in and coordinate these unit’s transportation needs.

Many systems are in place making this demanding mission a success. Theater Operations Processing is one of those systems. A subject matter expert on the TOP is Private 1st Class Shanon Pirofsky, TMR manager.

“We are here to help units successfully move a variety of equipment, from small objects such as pipes, to extremely large pieces of equipment like the Mine Resistant Ambush Protective Systems, better known as the MRAP vehicle,” said Private 1st Class Pirofsky. “The TMR managers are the belly button of the operation. We validate the stuff that needs to be moved.”

“I love what I do, and all I do now is talk about TMRs and TOPs,” said Private 1st Class Pirofsky. “I am part of a historic mission. This is why, for now, I call the fusion cell home.”

Page last updated Tue June 7th, 2011 at 00:00