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1 / 6 Show Caption + Hide Caption – 2nd Lt. Chris Seoane, the unit movement officer for 5-3 Field Artillery Regiment, 17th Field Artillery Brigade, speaks with Ken Thomas, an inspector with Installation Transportation Division, about the inspection happening, while two 5-3 FA Regiment ... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL
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2 / 6 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Ken Thomas, an inspector with Installation Transportation Division, signs paperwork approving the connex, while Sgt. 1st Class Nathan Gowin, 2nd Lt Chris Seoane, and Spc. Dalton Sumrall, all of 5-3 Field Artillery Regiment, 17th Field Artillery Briga... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL
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3 / 6 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Sgt. 1st Class Nathan Gowin, the unit movement Non-Commissioned Officer for 5th Battalion, 3rd Field Artillery Regiment, 17th Field Artillery Brigade, seals a connex with a serial numbered tag to ensure there is no tampering with the inside content, ... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL
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4 / 6 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Thomas Jenkins, an inspector with Installation Transportation Division, asks soldier from 5th Battalion, 3rd Field Artillery Regiment, 17th Field Artillery Brigade, about the battery cover on the recovery vehicle, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, WA, Feb. 8... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL
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5 / 6 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Soldiers from 5th Battalion, 3rd Field Artillery Regiment, 17th Field Artillery Brigade, measure the dimensions of the high mobility multi-purpose wheeled vehicle and mark the measurements onto its sides, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, WA, Feb. 8, 2017. T... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL
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6 / 6 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Two mechanics from 308th Brigade Support Battalion, 17th Field Artillery Brigade are conducting a final inspection on a recovery vehicle, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, WA, Feb. 8, 2017. The vehicles are being inspected for shipping for 5th Battalion, 3rd... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

Joint Base Lewis-McChord, WA - The leadership and soldiers from 5th Battalion, 3rd Field Artillery Regiment, 17th Field Artillery Brigade are in full throttle as they get closer to a deployment in support of U.S. Army Central. Outside of training for the demands of an austere environment, there is a lot of work behind the scenes that makes everything run smoothly.

As the unit prepares to leave, they have to worry about getting their equipment to the theater of operations. A crucial step in this process involves inspecting and shipping containers and vehicle "tips and scales."

Tips and scales, a term thrown around quite a bit, is the process of measuring the dimensions of vehicles, weighing them checking maintenance and making sure that there are no hazardous materials making the trip.

"We are ensuring that the vehicles and connexes are serviceable and moved out in a timely manner." said 2nd Lieutenant Christiana Seoane, the 5-3 FAR Unit Movement Officer, "We need to have them in theater ready to go, when we get there."

The main purpose behind this two-day process was to have Installation Travel Division inspect the connexes, the equipment and the vehicles to ensure that everything was up to standards before making the trip from Ft. Lewis to USARCENT.

"From start to finish this process takes up to 55 days," explains Staff Sgt. David Geary, Jr., the 17th Field Artillery Brigade's unit movement non-commissioned officer-in-charge. "When a deployment pops up, I coordinate with ITD and get tips and scales scheduled. Then, I get with the UMOs and coordinate them to make sure their equipment is prepped in advance."

For the vehicles, the dimensions and weights have to be confirmed. After confirmation, military shipping labels are placed on both sides of the vehicle and each vehicle is given a radio frequency identification tag. The RFID tags are similar to a tracking number, it allows the 17th FA Brigade to track where the equipment is located.

During the connex inspections, ITD confirms and certify that the containers and the equipment are cleared for surface and vessel movement. This includes having all the paperwork finished and visible, said Geary.

Some of the equipment that is in the connexes, like medical equipment and cooking equipment, can't go on the airplanes with the soldiers, but they are needed in theater. The vehicles and connexes will be hauled by rail to the port. At the port, it will be loaded on a vessel and then headed to the countries where the 5-3 FAR soldiers need them.

"I am very proud to be even a small part of this process," said Seoane. "It's a joint effort really. Everyone is just pulling together to meet our taskings, so we can push out."

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