DOHA, Qatar - "The Qatar Detachment is tasked with coordinating for the movement of all surface cargo to sustain U.S. military operations in Qatar. Without the vital expertise of our detachment soldiers, civilians, and our contractor, U.S. military cargo would not be able to enter Qatar," said 1st Lt. Luke Ulrich, operations officer for Surface Deployment Distribution Command Detachment Qatar. "We provide for the onward movement of sustainment cargo, major end items, and parts and materials to enable U.S. military operations in the state of Qatar. The Qatar Detachment will continue to support U.S. personnel throughout the area of operations with the movement of household goods, privately owned vehicles, as well as food stocks and sundry items for purchase at Army, Air Force Exchange Services."
Ulrich and the detachment at SDDC are responsible for coordinating all port missions that take place in Qatar.
"Typically, we receive notification of a mission a few weeks in advance. The Army watercraft is tasked with missions by the 135th Sustainment Command at Kuwait Naval Base. These vessels complete intra-theater cargo movement for U.S. Central Command. When a vessel is scheduled to make a port call at the Port of Mesaieed, we take several steps to ensure that the vessel may enter Qatari waters, discharge its cargo for onward movement to its final destination," said Ulrich.
The process involves everything from coordinating where the cargo is unloaded, ensuring the vessel has diplomatic clearance through the U.S. Embassy in Qatar and the cargo has approved customs clearance, explained Ulrich.Area Support Group-Qatar arranges for security forces to secure the port and to escort loaded trucks off of the port and to inspect the trucks before loading.
"Once SDDC Qatar receives an order to conduct port operations at Mesaieed, Capt. Ryan Molina, their commander, will then contact me with the plan of action for the mission," said Sgt. 1st Class James Johnson, port operations noncommissioned offer for ASG-Qatar.
The mission is a unique joint process, which involves units from all over Camp As Sayliyah.
"It is then my responsibility to ensure both coordination and execution of all security relate events are conducted," continued Johnson. "This entails coordination of 197th Military Police Detachment, escort team, dog handlers, Qatari Dive Team, and Qatari Military Police. I also ensure the berth is prepared in order to guarantee the safety of all personnel and cargo coming on and off the port."
In the end, the port missions are tremendously important for CAS since Ulrich, and the rest of the SDDC detachment, are responsible for all of the cargo that comes in through the port here in Qatar and makes its way throughout Southwest Asia. SDDC, ASG-QA, and more importantly CAS is vital to the U.S. mission in the Middle East because of their ongoing support of import and export of goods to the area of operations.