FORT CARSON, Colo. - Relief mixed with a slight drizzle of rain washed over a crowd of Soldiers as they finished a long day of rail load operations at Fort Carson, Aug. 26, 2015.
Soldiers of the 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, worked tirelessly throughout the week to load and secure more than 1700 containers and vehicles onto rail cars in preparation for an upcoming deployment to the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, California.
As soon as the brigade returned from training at the Piñon Canyon Maneuver Site in Las Animas County on June 18, 2015, unit movement officers started the deployment planning process for NTC.
"Every company has an assigned unit movement officer and they coordinate the equipment of each company and organization to be shipped via air, train, truck or boat to deploy anywhere worldwide," said Staff Sgt. Joshua Whiteland, company operations noncommissioned officer in charge, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st SBCT, 4th Inf. Div. "There's one UMO and a lot of equipment."
Whiteland is the UMO for his company and said that early planning and time management were crucial when juggling the additional duty with his daily responsibilities.
"You have to start early because the time runs quick," said Whiteland. "You may think that you have three or four months to get it done but that's almost not enough time.
With accurate organizational equipment lists, UMOs representing organizational levels from company up to brigade created a unit deployment list (UDL); a list of the containers and vehicles the unit is shipping.
The UDL was then submitted to the unit movement coordinator (UMC) who's responsible for creating a load plan that assigns all of the containers and vehicles to rail cars.
The UMC is the primary point of contact between the deploying unit, the installation and other commands for overall deployment transportation support.
"We're responsible for making sure that units are ready to deploy," said Shanette Thornton, unit movement coordinator, Fort Carson. "We always have joint planning meetings with the units from day one. We start planning about 45 days out from a deployment."
Thornton said that her team has an average of 30 years of experience in transportation and they work along with Soldiers to load all of the equipment.
"It's been a pretty big operation," said 1st. Lt. Adam Arnold, reconnaissance platoon leader, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, 1st SBCT, 4th Inf. Div. "Every level in the chain of command is doing their part and trying to make sure that everything goes as smoothly as possible."