AMC commander emphasizes readiness, teamwork during visit to 597th Transportation Brigade

By Zack Shelby, 597th Transportation BrigadeAugust 16, 2016

GEN Via visits 597th Transportation Brigade
1 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Gen. Dennis L. Via, commanding general, U.S. Army Materiel Command, is greeted by Lt. Col. Stacy Tomic, 833rd Transportation Battalion commander, during an Aug. 15 visit to 597th Transportation Brigade headquarters for a briefing which emphasized rea... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL
GEN Via visits 597th Transportation Brigade
2 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Gen. Dennis L. Via, commanding general, U.S. Army Materiel Command, heads a briefing at 597th Transportation Brigade headquarters emphasizing readiness and teamwork with the two other Army four-star commands - U.S. Army Forces Command and Training an... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

The commanding general, U.S. Army Materiel Command, paid a visit to 597th Transportation Brigade headquarters Aug. 15 to discuss among other things -- readiness and teamwork.

Gen. Dennis L. Via emphasized the importance of how AMC works with the other two four-star Army Commands - Forces Command and Training and Doctrine Command to prevent, shape, and if necessary, win a war.

Via said people know what FORSCOM and TRADOC do, but not everyone knows AMC's mission.

"I say to audiences who are not familiar with AMC that if a Soldier drives it, flies it, wears it, shoots it, communicates with it or eats it, AMC has a role in providing it," Via said. "We do it across the board. We do it not only for the United States Army, but we also do it for many of our joint forces. We have a footprint in every combatant command around the world."

TRADOC trains, recruits and develops Soldiers and FORSCOM organizes combat, according to Via.

"AMC's role is to be the best equipped," Via said. "We want to make sure we have the best-trained, best-led and best-equipped fighting force the world has ever known. It takes these three pillars to make that happen. We have to work together. Our command works very closely with Training and Doctrine Command and with Forces Command."

Via said the three commands are tasked to prevent war, but to do so, the Army has to be ready.

"That's how you keep potential enemies from taking action," Via said. "They see this formidable, standing, ready and capable Army. That's the readiness piece that you hear the chief of staff of the Army talk about."

Via mentioned the recent Anakonda joint operation in Europe, which involved the 597th, numerous nations and about 30,000 Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines.

"That's shaping the operational environment," Via said. "That's showing a ready and capable force -- not only that you can deploy and get to any part of the world, but our strategic advantage is we can sustain it. We can be there for the duration. If we get into a conflict, it's all in to win."

Via then mentioned that the organizations that belong to the three ACOMs have a role in helping to make that happen.

"Your role is to get there," Via said of the 597th. "That includes the equipment and supplies we need to sustain it."

Members of the 597th had an opportunity to brief Via on varying operational subjects, including Lt. Col. Stacy Tomic, 833rd Transportation Battalion commander, who briefed key take-aways, such as onward movement.

"As much as you can exercise theater opening, port opening capabilities, leverage that so that you maintain that proficiency that you have so well in this command," Via said.

Lt. Cmdr. Craig Bishop, 597th chief of operations, briefed Via on the next 120 days of 597th operations.

"After a very busy spring and summer, we are now seeing a lot of redeployments," Bishop said. "As we look forward into the fall and winter, we're really going to start to pick up."

Bishop mentioned that over the next 120 days, there will be movement of about 17,000 pieces of cargo.

"There's a lot of movement coming up over the next few months," he said. "597th and its five terminal ports are going to be extremely busy. We're working hand-in-hand on a daily basis with SDDC (Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command) trying to make sure we understand all the cargo flow."

Jim Pereira, 597th plans and programs manager, briefed Via on the Joint Task Force-Port Opening program. Pereira mentioned the JTF-PO program is working on the Sea Port of Debarkation "Fight Tonight" initiative to gain support for SPOD operational capability.

"There are some equipment needs," Pereira said. "We're addressing that. In addition to identifying the short falls, we're also making sure we're prepared to provide SPOD capability worldwide to the combatant commanders."

Vicki Spencer, 597th chief, Ocean Cargo Clearance Authority operations, briefed Via on the status of OCCA booking and staffing.

"This office here is quite busy," Spencer said. "Not only are we busy with the unit cargo, but we're busy with the sustainment cargo."

Via gave the 597th the opportunity to pinpoint how to address any issues or concerns related to improving readiness and offered his support in that endeavor by stating he would send out a wide-reaching memorandum, based on the visit.

"This is your opportunity to speak through me to commanders in the field," Via said.

Via went around the horn to give everyone in the room a chance to voice any comments or concerns before wrapping up the brief.

"Thank you for the mission you do," Via said. "It's a critical mission. You can become better and this unit can become better. Don't pass up an opportunity to continue to reinforce that."

Via reiterated the importance of the three four-star ACOMs working together.

"We're intricately linked -- TRADOC, FORSCOM, and AMC," Via said. "We know that we can't function without these three commands working very closely together. We all work as a team to address the Army's challenges and concerns."

Via also handed out numerous coins and pins to civilian and uniformed members of the 597th during the visit in recognition of performance and time in service.