By Staff Sgt. Vincent AbrilOctober 24, 2013
BUSAN, South Korea - Facing the elements and the possible threat of a typhoon approaching the peninsula Sunday, soldiers of the 602nd Aviation Support Battalion, 2nd Combat Aviation Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, worked diligently off-loading OH-58D Kiowa Warrior helicopters, tactical vehicles and shipping containers from a large shipping vessel called the Ocean Giant at a port in Busan.
They worked alongside personnel from the 837th Transportation Battalion also known as the "Kargo Kings," who oversaw the operation at the port.
"We execute and supervise port operations for all cargo coming by surface into Korea. We're actually one of three U.S. transportation command elements operating in Korea," said Lt. Col. Christopher W. Abbott, commander of the 837th Transportation Battalion, 599th Transportation Brigade.
The "Kargo Kings" provide safety oversight, manpower and shared knowledge as operations were carried out. With their help, the soldiers assigned to 602nd ASB managed to off-load 30 aircraft and tactical equipment in one day with zero incidents.
"Our soldiers conducted several rehearsals prior to the execution of this mission," said Capt. James L. Collard, the port operations officer in charge with Headquarters Support Company, 602nd ASB and native of Louisville, Ky. "This allowed them to safely and efficiently offload the aircraft and equipment which ensured a successful operation."
The reason behind all this hard work is to support the 4th Attack Reconnaissance Squadron, 6th Cavalry Regiment, 16th Combat Aviation Brigade, 7th Infantry Division based out of Joint Base Lewis-McCord, Wash., who is participating in a nine-month deployment to South Korea. Soldiers of 4th ARS, 6th Cavalry Regiment, also worked with 602nd ASB personnel to ensure their helicopters and equipment were off-loaded correctly since most of the soldiers assigned to 602nd ASB never worked with this particular airframe.
"Personnel in our battalion were not familiar with the OH-58D airframe," Collard said. "This made working alongside soldiers of 4th ARS, 6th Cavalry Regiment, a critical piece of our mission success."
Even once all the equipment was on the ground, the work was not finished. The 4th ARS, 6th Cavalry Regiment, crew chiefs and maintainers then began conducting maintenance on the aircraft to ensure no damage had occurred while at sea.
"We check for any damage to critical parts of the aircraft and conduct preventive maintenance services which gives us a chance to look all through the aircraft and do a basic service to ensure its ready for the pilots," said Capt. Tim A. Speace, maintenance commander for 4th ARS, 6th Cavalry Regiment, and native of Philadelphia. "Corrosion is always a big concern. After being out at sea for two to three weeks, we want to make sure that salt water and salt air didn't affect the aircraft."
Rust or no rust, the operation was a success with the soldiers ensuring the equipment was deemed safe for onward movement which allowed the 4th ARS, 6th Cavalry Regiment, to embark on their new mission as part of 2nd Infantry Division, which is the last remaining permanently forward-stationed division in the U.S. Army.