By CPT James SheehanAugust 19, 2016
DAEGU, South Korea -- The 19th ESC's 6th Ordnance Battalion teamed up with 97th Transportation Company, 837th Transportation Battalion and Korea's Port Operations Group to transport 41 containers from the Republic of Korea to Japan, Aug. 8.
The 97th Transportation Company sailed in two U.S. Army vessels named after battles in U.S. military history: Harpers Ferry and Coamo. The amphibious Landing Craft Utility vessels pulled into Jinhae's port, just west of Busan. The four organizations and two nations worked together to load 21 containers onto Harpers Ferry, then 20 onto Coamo. The operation took less than six hours with zero incidents.
"It's all about cargo operations and [watercraft operators] actually doing their job, handling cargo," said Sgt. 1st Class Brandy Caballuro, 19th ESC's support operations mobility, sea and maintenance non-commissioned officer.
Caballuro explained the complexities of cargo operations and the significance of each organization's role in a major operation on land and sea.
"There's a lot that goes into it as far as making sure each container weighs a certain amount. They have to place these containers in certain areas so the boat will be stable. We have to maintain trim and stability on the vessel so that when the vessel is out at sea we are not capsizing," said Caballuro.
On the edge of the water with hard hats, safety vests, and a clipboard stood Pfc. Ilian Rodriguez and Pfc. Crystal Ruiz from 6th Ordnance Battalion.
"We write down and track container numbers so we know where they're going and make sure we don't lose one," said Rodriguez. "That's what our MOS [military occupational specialty: transportation coordinator] does. You have to pay attention to detail. Double checking the numbers on the container is important. One wrong number can throw off the whole mission."
The Republic of Korea Port Operations Group supported the mission by operating the crane lifting and loading each container onto the vessels. 837th Transportation Battalion was on scene to ensure proper coordination between the Republic of Korea Port Operations Group, 6th Ordnance and the vessel operators from 97th Transportation Company.
"The most we are getting out of this is the relationship between the ROK Army and U.S. Army. We're are helping them out with taking what they need to go to Japan. That's the main mission," said Caballuro.
Harpers Ferry's vessel master, Chief Warrant Officer Two Allan Pulsifer explained the importance of teamwork for exercises between two nations. He talked about his remarkable team and how close boat crews become after completing international missions. He said his current team is the best he's worked with in his career.
"I'm not just saying this… the team that I've been given with only a month to piece together, has molded very well together. We've had zero issues. Not one person has even been counseled. If they make a small mistake, then you correct them and they keep that. They follow through. From the privates to the Sergeant first class's," said Pulisfer.