Simplifying unit movement for the inexperienced UMO

By Capt. Ryan L. RussellOctober 22, 2018

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The role of the unit movement officer (UMO) is challenging yet rewarding. I gained invaluable experience about deployment while serving as a battalion UMO in a brigade combat team during two deployments from Fort Drum, New York, to the Joint Readiness Training Center (JRTC) at Fort Polk, Louisiana, and during one to Afghanistan.

Often units that are preparing to deploy have an assigned UMO who is either trained but inexperienced or experienced but scheduled to leave the unit prior to the deployment. After completing the Unit Movement Officer Deployment Planning (UMO) Course, I was immediately positioned as the battalion UMO. I spent hours scrolling through UMO Course materials and Army doctrine in search of the essential steps and checklists needed to prepare the battalion's equipment for deployment to JRTC.

I found unit movement operations referenced in Forces Command (FORSCOM) Regulation 55-1, Unit Movement Planning; FORSCOM Regulation 55-2, Unit Movement Data Reporting; and Army Techniques Publication 3-35, Army Deployment and Redeployment. This article provides additional UMO techniques for new battalion UMOs, focusing on equipment deployment preparation to an Army combat training center.


Soldiers must complete several training modules in order to be effective UMOs. The UMO Course is a two-week course taught at Fort Lee, Virginia, or by a mobile training team at home installations. The course provides instructions on weighing and marking multimodal equipment, movement planning, convoy operations, blocking and bracing, palletization, and equipment tie-down procedures. Students also learn about the organizational equipment list (OEL) and unit deployment list (UDL).

The Ammo-43-DL Intermodal Dry Cargo Container/Convention for Safe Containers (CSC) course, offered through, certifies CSC inspectors on intermodal dry cargo container inspection in accordance with Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations and International CSC/Title 46 of U.S. Code Chapter 805 requirements. The Transportation Coordinators-Automated Information for Movements System II (TC-AIMS II) course, provided locally at most Army installations, instructs UMOs in creating OELs and UDLs through

The Air Force's Airlift Planners Course certifies students in airlift planning, preparation, joint airlift operations, principles of load planning, airfield safety, and the structure of the Air Force's Air Mobility Command. Standalone online courses such as the Container Management Module, Container Control Officer (CCO), Army Container Asset Management System, and Container Management courses are offered through and https://eta/ These courses provide CCOs instruction on methods to control, report, inspect, and manage Department of Defense-owned and International Organization for Standardization (ISO) containers and equipment.

If UMOs cannot attend all of the classes listed, the UMO and Ammo-43-DL/CSC are the most critical because they provide the essential tools to effectively conduct unit movement operations.


Anticipation is essential to unit movement operations because deployment preparation is time-sensitive. UMOs must begin unit movement preparation immediately after a deployment is confirmed. Battalion UMOs should work with the battalion S-4 to ensure all appointment orders for battalion UMOs, company UMOs, CCOs, TC-AIMS II operators, and hazmat certifiers are current and valid throughout the duration of the deployment.

Hazmat personnel can certify hazmat and containers, provide guidance on items requiring special packing procedures, and correctly document all hazmat paperwork. Battalion UMOs or CCOs should coordinate with company UMOs to inspect their companies' containers in accordance with CSC standards from the ISO container inspection checklist, which is provided during the Ammo-43-DL/CSC course. They should also coordinate for materials handling equipment to lift for visual inspection underneath each container, and, if necessary, reorganize containers in the unit motor pool to facilitate efficient loading and inspection.

UMOs and CCOs should verify container serial numbers for legibility and verify that the company unit identification code (UIC) is spray-painted in two-inch black lettering on all four sides of the container. The battalion UMO or CCO should turn in a completed Department of the Army (DA) Form 2404, Equipment Inspection and Maintenance Worksheet, and an ISO Container Inspection Checklist provided through the Ammo-43-DL/CSC course for each container to the installation transportation office (ITO).

In return, he or she will receive a CSC sticker with an expiration date valid through the duration of the deployment. CSC stickers are placed onto the container's data plate directly next to the serial number. Battalion UMOs should contact the brigade mobility office for the most current list of national stock numbers for blocking and bracing materials.

UMOs should coordinate the ordering of all shipping materials needed for containers, to include 4-feet by 8-feet sheets of 3/4-inch plywood for internal bracing and placement underneath containers to mitigate transit issues during winter conditions. Other necessary items include Bubble Wrap, zip-lock bags, document protectors, packing list envelopes, zip ties, spray adhesive, hazmat placards, and bolt seals for sensitive-item containers. Radio frequency identification (RFID) tags and RFID batteries are required to track containers and rolling stock through while in transit. The brigade mobility office may require units to order cargo tie-down chains (types MB-1 and MB-2) and cargo straps.

The availability of TC-AIMS II operators vary among units and installations, and having sufficiently trained operators on appointment orders will facilitate speed as units build their OELs. Company UMOs should bring a current property book and a rolling stock list that associates bumper numbers with serial numbers to ensure bumper numbers match their serial numbers in TC-AIMS II. After all units update their OELs, battalion UMOs should export all company OELs from TC-AIMS II into Microsoft Excel.

Battalion UMOs should filter and keep essential data, including UICs, shipping unit numbers (SUNs), bumper numbers, serial numbers, national stock numbers, line item numbers, heights, and weights. Battalion UMOs should provide OEL copies to the battalion headquarters and all companies. A tested practice is for companies to highlight essential items required for deployment in Excel and to delete non-highlighted and nonessential items. Battalion UMOs should compile all highlighted company OELs in Excel, organize individual tabs for each UIC, create the battalion master OEL, and disseminate it to company UMOs, company command teams, the battalion headquarters, and the brigade mobility office. If the brigade mobility office requires UMOs to create a UDL, the data from the OEL will provide the information required to create the UDL through TC-AIMS II.


Integration is essential for deployment; various personnel, sections, and agencies must synchronize to ensure personnel and equipment deploy safely and on schedule. Battalion UMOs should seek guidance from the brigade mobility office, which can provide the most current unit movement timeline covering UDL submission, shipping paperwork review, rolling stock inspections, ITO inspections, rail loading, and cargo procedures. UMOs should build an internal plan as necessary within the battalion's or higher echelon's timeline and intent.

Battalion UMOs should hold weekly meetings to integrate and synchronize the company UMOs, company executive officers, battalion S-3, battalion S-4, and battalion executive officer. The meeting should cover the unit movement timeline, requirements from each company, and due-outs from the brigade mobility office. The requirement for trained rail load teams on appointment orders is determined by the brigade mobility office.


After completing the steps above, UMOs must simplify the unit movement process. Battalion UMOs should request a minimum of one maintenance bay from the unit motor pool to conduct rolling stock inspections. These inspections should focus on brigade- and ITO-required shipping transit inspection criteria.

Battalion UMOs should coordinate times for units to bring in their rolling stock for inspection, retrieve the ITO equipment inspection checklists, and request assistance from unit wheeled vehicle mechanics to inspect for mechanical faults, proper tire pressure, and fluid leaks. UMOs should inspect for cleanliness and properly secured batteries. They should ensure that fuel tanks are three-quarters full, all tie-down shackles are attached, drip pan and chock blocks are present, secondary loads are secured, fire extinguishers are properly mounted inside their brackets, and no vehicle radio antennas or sensitive items are present. Additionally, UMOs should compare serial numbers to what is listed on the UDL and ensure each vehicle's bumper number, SUN, UIC, and unit name are stenciled on the front and rear of each vehicle, trailer, and generator.

For secondary cargo, such as a generator secured in the rear cargo area of a light medium tactical vehicle, UMOs should check for secondary cargo leaks, secured batteries, and empty fuel tanks. Each vehicle requires a Department of Defense (DD) Form 1750, Packing List, a DA Form 7598, Vehicle Load Card, and ITO-mandated documentation.

For containers, battalion UMOs should schedule another internal unit inspection for all packed containers prior to brigade and ITO container inspections, focusing on proper blocking, bracing, and documentation. All containers require a DA Form 5748-R, Shipment Unit Packing List and Load Diagram, and each individual box requires a DD Form 1750, plus any other ITO-mandated shipping documentation. Sensitive-item containers require a DD Form 1387-2, Special Handling Data/Certification, while hazmat containers require a DD Form 2890, DOD Multimodal Dangerous Good Declaration, certified by the unit hazmat certifier. A resourcing technique is allocating one container as the battalion hazmat container.

After completing battalion internal inspections, the battalion UMO should consolidate all rolling stock and container paperwork, organized by UIC and SUN, and disseminate copies for himself or herself, company UMOs, the brigade mobility office, and the ITO. Container paperwork organization will ensure the battalion easily passes the ITO shipping paperwork inspections, and conducting unit internal rolling stock and container inspections will ensure successful equipment deployment.

The final objectives are rail loading and container pickup, and the brigade mobility office will provide guidance on these operations. Following these techniques will facilitate successful deployment and are equally applicable for redeployment.


Capt. Ryan L. Russell is a plans officer assigned to the Support Operations Distribution Integration Branch, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, Special Troops Battalion, 1st Infantry Division Sustainment Brigade, at Fort Riley, Kansas. He holds a bachelor's degree in industrial safety from the University of Central Oklahoma and is a graduate of the Logistics Captains Career Course, UMO Course, Airlift Planners Course, and Ammo-43-DL Intermodal Dry Cargo Container/CSC Course.


This article is an Army Sustainment product.

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