By Maj. Sean Summers, Capt. Adam Bolliger, and Capt. Claudia CasoNovember 13, 2018
The 7th Transportation Brigade (Expeditionary) (TB[X]) employed total Army forces to execute logistics over-the-shore (LOTS) operations during Resolute Shamrock 18 (RS18) from March 1 to March 21, 2018. RS18 exercised the brigade's ability to have mission command over both assigned and attached port, terminal, and watercraft units conducting expeditionary intermodal operations in support of unified land operations. The exercise certified the ability of the brigade and its subordinate units to project combat power through select warfighting functions, such as intelligence, sustainment, protection, and mission command.
In late 2017, the Army Reserve Command (USARC) determined that a redesigned combat support training exercise was needed in order to meet "focused readiness" requirements and to create an Army Reserve Ready Force X sufficient to meet operational demands. USARC's Ready Force X includes a terminal battalion and watercraft elements.
Knowing that the 7th TB(X) is the subject matter expert in terminal and watercraft operations in the active component, USARC requested that the 7th TB(X) lead the integration of active and reserve LOTS operations in order to build, train, and certify a realistic total Army force across all domains.
RS18 integrated more than 1,072 active and reserve Soldiers into a total force. The exercise required the 348th Terminal Battalion (TB) to command a geographical node of the operation. The 348th TB provided mission command over the 331st Transportation Company (Causeway) and other active component downtrace units responsible for many of the watercraft operations in the area.
The interoperability of the active and reserve components allowed the units to share best practices. The reserve component Soldiers had the opportunity to deal with watercraft-specific missions that 7th TB(X) Soldiers deal with every day, such as using the roll-on/roll-off discharge facility to conduct nighttime download operations.
More importantly, RS18 was the first time the 348th TB had the opportunity to train all of its subordinate units in the same location. The TB's terminal operations and plans officer commented, "We had never dealt with a causeway company or a harbor master company before; this exercise gave us the opportunity to manage and synchronize our training with them and really helped us visualize how we would fit into a real-world total Army operation."
Likewise, the interoperability of RS18 helped the active units refine their procedures to reflect the capabilities needed for any situation. Although Soldier skills are universal, the types of practices, equipment, and communication packages used in the watercraft field vary from unit to unit. Therefore, practicing interoperability during RS18 helped the units identify different capabilities and how they can be improved.
For example, reserve component Soldiers brought equipment to the fight that the 7th TB(X) does not have, such as a shower, laundry, and clothing repair facility. This allowed the active component Soldiers to become acquainted with unfamiliar equipment. In addition, having both active and reserve vessels working together to accomplish the same mission helped the Soldiers identify differences in communication packages. From training together, the 7th TB(X) and the 348th TB learned from one another and took home significant lessons.
TRANSFER OF AUTHORITY
RS18 established the first relief in place and transfer of authority between the 7th TB(X) and a Military Surface Deployment Distribution Command (SDDC) element, the 1394th Transportation Brigade from Camp Pendleton, California. Because the 7th TB(X) is the only active component Army maritime unit, it has few opportunities to conduct a robust transition with an SDDC element with maximum throughput. The 7th TB(X) commander and the 1394th Transportation Brigade commander both realized the need to establish training opportunities that would leverage 7th TB(X) capabilities.
For four days during RS18, the 7th TB(X)'s support operations officer led both brigades' staffs to identify critical force structure shortages between a TB(X) and an SDDC transportation brigade. By the end of the transfer of authority, the staffs had created informational products to pass on to future SDDC elements.
RS18 developed tough, realistic training opportunities that encompassed vessel movements, upload and download of cargo, movement control, and convoy operations validating communications and mission command battle tracking systems. RS18 resulted in increased readiness for total Army terminal and watercraft elements conducting worldwide deployments in support of geographic combatant command operation plans and concept of operation plans.
Maj. Sean Summers is the 7th TB(X) future operations chief. He has a bachelor's degree in sociology from Western Maryland College and a master's degree in transportation and logistics from American Military University. He is a graduate of the Joint Humanitarian Operations Course and the Asymmetrical Warfare Group Course.
Capt. Adam Bolliger is a future operations planner in the 7th TB(X). He has a bachelor's degree in economics from Illinois State University and is a graduate of the Joint Humanitarian Operations Course and Support Operations Course Phase II.
Capt. Claudia Caso is the 7th TB(X) S-3 transportation plans officer. She has a bachelor's degree in foreign area studies from the U.S. Military Academy and a minor in environmental engineering. She is a graduate of the Airborne and Pathfinder Schools.
This article is an Army Sustainment product.