By Joyce CostelloFebruary 2, 2009
LIVORNO, Italy -- Camp Darby units 839th Transportation Battalion and 3rd Battalion, 405th Army Field Support Brigade worked ardently together to ensure the successful arrival and transportation of 144 vehicles belonging to the 172nd Heavy Brigade Combat Team Left Behind Equipment from the Port of Livorno to Leghorn Army Depot for repair.
839th Trans Bn. coordinated the download of the ship and the staging of the equipment for onward movement with the port authority, ship, and the contracted stevedores, according to Lt. Col. Robert King, 839th Trans Bn.; while 3/405 AFSB Commander, Lt. Col. Roger L. McCreery oversaw the participating members of the 3/405 AFSB discharged the vessel, served as technical subject matter experts for the subject equipment and served as operators during the convoy to Camp Darby.
"A mission like this absolutely requires teamwork from all the key organizations in order to accomplish the mission," said King. "Detailed communications with our host nation partners was critical to insure that all the requirements have been met prior to operation."
McCreery added that a focus on safety, communication and the technical competency of all involved were the central characteristics to successful accomplishment of the mission.
"The operation involved large groups of people from various organizations such as 3/405th AFSB, 839th Transportation Battalion, 497th Movement Control Team, USAG Livorno, Italian Base Commander, local law enforcement, port authorities and contractors Sintemar all operating over a multi-day/multi-shift period of time," said McCreery. "Success required a diligent, focused effort by all because armor equipment, due to the sizes and weights involved, is inherently dangerous to operate and mistakes often result in catastrophic consequences."
In addition to making sure coordination was complete across the board, the sheer task of moving tracked vehicles in a short window of time was a challenge.
"It was important to get the initial 28 vehicles off the vessel quickly so that the
vessel could be moved, allowing another ship to exit the Port of Livorno and 839th Terminal Manager Franco Infante provided the motivation and expertise to get the vessel downloaded in time to let other traffic pass in the port," said King.
Once off the ship, the vehicles then had to make the journey from the port to the base.
"In order to minimizing disruption to the local population and avoiding maneuver damage, we conducted route reconnaissance and identifying high risk areas such as interchange loops and differences of height between paved surfaces at critical areas such as points where turns would be negotiated and coupled with the technical expertise of the operators, effectively mitigated this risk; there was no disturbance to the local populace and no maneuver damage noted during the operation," said McCreery.
Now that these 172 HBCT vehicles are being positioned at Leghorn Army Depot as Left Behind Equipment during the unit's deployment to southwest Asia, according to McCreery, 3/405th AFSB will bring the vehicles to 10/20 standard, store, maintain, and issue the vehicles back to the unit upon its return from deployment.