Thunderbolt Soldiers Ready Equipment to Head Down Range
By Sgt. Jacob KohrsFebruary 22, 2017
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."Follow the story and Soldiers of the 17th FA Brigade at facebook.com/17thFieldArtilleryBrigade.