By U.S. ArmyOctober 2, 2018
PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii -- When the 599th Transportation Brigade and its partners uploaded 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division cargo bound for the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk, Louisiana, onto the USNS Bob Hope from Sept. 18-22, here, it was the culmination of a weeks-long process.
The 1192nd Deployment and Distribution Support Battalion from New Orleans, Louisiana, sent two separate teams to Hawaii to support the move beginning with the first terminal management team from Aug. 7 at the Schofield Barracks motor pool.
The team weighed and checked the cargo and equipment, which then was sent to the Multiple Deployment Facility on Wheeler Army Airfield for processing and staging.
Once the team at the MDF had completed its part, the cargo was sent to the port for staging and loading for transport to the mainland.
As in any mission, there were a few challenges that the Surface Warriors had to overcome. The first was inconsistency between laser and manual measurements.
"We had some problems with cargo being frustrated because of bad measurements," said Command Sgt. Maj. Renee Smith, 1192nd senior enlisted advisor. "The laser scans and manual measurements were not matching up.
"Then we made adjustments and moved the dimension data team from Pearl Harbor to the MDF, which solved the problem," he said.
Staff Sgt. Jacob Schmidt, unmanned aircraft mechanic and unit movement officer for Charlie Troop 2-6 Cavalry Squadron, 25th Combat Aviation Brigade, agreed.
"If you are going too fast or too slow, it can mess up the laser," he said. "This year we went to manual measurements, so it was a lot smoother. It results in a lot less frustrated cargo."
836th Transportation Battalion commander, Lt. Col. Gary Whittacre, led a terminal management team from the battalion.
"I think that for the 836th this operation has had two distinct mission sets," he said. "The first is the deployment operation, and the second is to provide coaching, mentoring and evaluation for the 1192nd. Both of these have been very successful.
"Highlights of the mission are being able to see a multi-service team comprised of the 1192nd DDSB, 302nd Transportation Battalion, the Navy at Fleet Logistics Center, Military Sealift Command, the 599th, the 836th, the 25th ID, and the Navy Cargo Handling Battalion.
"The fact that we had all of these units and services involved was transparent to those who showed up to observe the mission. They could only tell the difference by the different vests that people wore. We were one team out there. It looks like we've been working together for months or years."
Lt. Col Stacy Haag, 1192nd acting battalion commander, said keeping all of the parts coordinated took work.
"The most interesting part of what we are doing right now is pulling together different units to become one, and coordinating with different agencies on the ground," she said. "We make sure to coordinate with all of the different units and make sure everyone is working together. We also do a roll up at the end of each day.
"Like any mission we have had hiccups along the way because of the big multiple organizations together for the first time," she added. This was like going to a new school. First we had to figure out what works well together. We got our synergy up and were able to get our processes in place."
Clyde Miyoshi, FLC Pearl Harbor, said that in addition to normal glitches starting up, the transportation accountability software system had a problem mid-mission.
"We started getting problems with our queries on D-GATES (Deployable Global Air Transportation Execution System) on Saturday. It was a serious problem. None of the computers were working. But we were able to call over to the Air Force, get the back-up from them, and install it.
"We updated the cargo and progress through the main servers. We updated with a download to CD. Then we repopulated with the new copies of the software. The scanners were still up, so we didn't lose everything. We were able to come back online about Saturday at 8 p.m."
Whittacre said he was impressed by the 1192nd performance.
"From pre-MDF to loading the last piece, there was a marked proficiency in how the 1192nd soldiers performed. As we move to complete the load out, the level of confidence the soldiers and officers display increased throughout the move.
"Now that they have been validated, I hope they are able to perform an individual move," he added.
Bob Hope vessel master, Bill Spooner, said his crew worked with the transporters to expedite the mission.
"The operation has gone pretty smoothly. On working with the upload team, the chief mate and I touch base with them during the day, and he meets with them at the start of every work day.
"The Army made the stowage plan based on the ship's characteristics. They had to change their upload plans a little at the beginning due to the physical layout of the ship, but they have stuck to the stowage plan.
"We tried to position the lashings gear in the right places before the load out began. We did a pretty good job of figuring out where they would need it, and we are able to move more to them when they let us know they need more."
By the afternoon of Sept. 21, Spooner and Haag both knew they would meet the deadline to sail.
"We should sail within the planned time without difficulty," Spooner said.
"We are finishing up and glad to be done," Haag said. "Active duty, reserves, Navy and Navy reservists have all performed outstanding jobs here. It shows how we can all interact together to get the mission done."
"We gave them the deadline, and everybody worked very hard to meet it," she added. "Toward the end here we were working the 'big-uglies' into tight spaces, which slowed us down and brought us into nighttime for the last few pieces. We will finish out the night shift and be done, so the ship can sail on time."
"Overall, the team accomplished the mission without any accidents or damage to the unit equipment," said Davey Flores, 599th traffic management specialist.