PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii -- 599th Transportation Brigade teamed up with its partners for back-to-back, 24-hour port operations here June 10-13.
The 836th Transportation Battalion from Yokohama North Dock, Japan, provided a deployment and distribution management team to lead the operation at the port. Other partners included Fleet Logistics Center, Pearl Harbor, Navy cargo handling battalions, 25th Infantry Division Port Support Activity, and contracted stevedores from McCabe Hamilton and Renny Co. Ltd.
The first ship in was the M/V Ocean Jazz, a Military Sealift Command charter from New Orleans, which docked at 3:30 p.m. on June 10. The Jazz came already loaded from Tacoma, Washington, so port operators had to first offload and redistribute cargo in order to upload 25th ID's cargo and equipment.
"The Ocean Jazz won't be finished until Monday, because they have to offload tricons, knuckle them together, and reload them, so they can be stacked to accommodate the other cargo," said David Carmody, Military Sealift Command marine transportation specialist.
"This was a particularly challenging operation," said Lt. Col. Clydea Prichard-Brown, 836th Transportation Battalion commander. "But I want everyone to know that we had challenges and worked through them. It all worked out based on our ability to adjust as the need arose."
Not only did the team have much more work with offloading, repackaging and reloading the same cargo, they also were up against a hard deadline because of an aircraft carrier group's scheduled arrival.
"Once the carrier comes in, FLC has to shift their focus to supporting it," said Prichard-Brown.
Contracted stevedores worked night shifts on June 10-12, and personnel assigned to Navy cargo handling battalions throughout the U.S. mainland handled the day shift.
While the Jazz was loading 25th ID cargo for Pacific Pathways 17-2, the second ship, USNS Fisher, stood by at the next pier. Once the Jazz finished offloading and departed at about midnight on June 13, tugs moved the Fisher over, and transporters immediately began offloading 25th ID cargo redeploying from Pacific Pathways 17-1.
While Prichard-Brown led the day shift and the overall mission, Sgt. Maj. Lonnie Gabriel, 836th senior enlisted advisor, commanded the night shift.
"We finished the Ocean Jazz two hours behind schedule, but we made up the time on the Fisher by focusing on one strategic point of attack on the offload," said Gabriel. "While the Fisher was at Hotel Pier yesterday we looked it over. That way, once it docked at Kilo, we already knew what vehicles needed additional maintenance support. We exceeded what we expected to download last night."
Technology continued to improve for the move.
"Usually we are only able to hand scan cargo into either ICODES [Integrated Computerized Deployment System] or GATES [Global Air Transportation Execution System]," said James Luxemburg, 836th information technology specialist. "We were able to work with integrated scanning for this move, which can do both, so it saves us a lot of time and work."
Even though technology had improved, transporters still conducted a manual count to ensure accuracy.
"We were prepared for both operations because of our previous operations loading the Fisher in January at Pearl Harbor," said 599th terminal operations chief, Carlos Tibbetts. "Pacific Pathways has provided more training than any other operation short of contingency operations supporting 25th ID deployments since 2001 (Bosnia) and 2004 (Afghanistan and Iraq)."
Because of the complexity of the move, the 599th stood up a tactical operations center at the port.
"We coordinated situation and spot reports from the DDMT, compiled information and ensured accurate accounting during the operation," said Air Force Maj. Charles Boler IV, 599th command operations center chief. "We then entered the information into the [system] for SDDC-wide visibility."
The Ocean Jazz docked at 3:30 p.m. on June 10, and the last piece of equipment was offloaded from the USNS Fisher at 4:50 p.m. on June 13.
According to the Fisher's captain, John Nowak, the Fisher has been on a Pacific Pathways 17-1 cruise for five months, since it got the call in January and responded in 72 hours to replace the M/V Kocak for Exercise Cobra Gold. After offloading, the Fisher delayed its departure because of mechanical problems. Its next stop, Washington state, will be its last for this voyage.