For the first time in 597th Transportation Brigade history, members of the 597th Ocean Cargo Clearance Authority (OCCA) conducted a site visit April 24-28 to Naval Station Guantanamo Bay (NSGB), Cuba, and the 832rd Transportation Battalion Southeastern Area Detachment (SEAD), Blount Island, Jacksonville, Florida.
Vickie Spencer, U.S. Northern Command (USNORTHCOM) OCCA chief, Brian Ridgway, contract officer representative (COR) and Nick Weiss, deputy, Sealift Services Division United States Transportation Command (USTRANSCOM), visited both locations in an effort to finalize outstanding issues between Schuyler Lines, who provides bi-monthly round-robin shipments/deliveries from Blount Island to NSGB, and the 832nd. Everything the naval station requires is brought to them via Schuyler's ship. This includes, reefers that contain groceries and sundries for the commissary, fresh fruits and vegetables, all the commodities for the Naval Exchange (NEX), privately owned vehicles (POVs) for the servicemen and women that are serving on the installation, household goods, and everything the navy station requires to operate on a daily basis.
"I learned a lot and it was beneficial to see how all the operations flowed," said Weiss.
Some of the topics they covered with Schuyler Lines and the 832nd (who provides the booking expertise) and Naval Supply Systems Command (NAVSUP), our customer, was to define the Stevedoring/Vehicle Processing Center/and foreign nationals operating on NSGB to support the operations shipside.
Spencer had the lead as they covered Ordering Officer/COR issues to facilitate bookings/counter offers/etc. All in all, they were very pleased to be able to clearly understand the shortfalls, facilitate expectations and bridge the communication gaps to get the contract revised and executing properly.
Christopher Hughes and Keith Zelinsky from Schuyler stated that the visit gave context to the various challenges faced, and provided some areas to focus and improve operations.