By 1LT Clark ChenMarch 5, 2019
KADENA AIR BASE, Japan - For the Army's only forward stationed Patriot Missile System Maintenance Company in Japan, the Soldiers of Echo Company, 1st Battalion, 1st Air Defense Artillery Regiment (1-1 ADA), has had to take a holistic look at sustainment not only in Japan but also throughout the US Indo-Pacific Theater to support the warfighters.
The result has been an intra-theater sustainment partnership that includes South Korea, Japan, Guam and Hawaii, which in turn has saved $2,000,000 to date with millions in cost savings forecasted in the next five years.
The Soldiers of Echo Co. have managed to leverage assets within the theater to blaze a path for long-term sustainability while saving the Army millions of dollars in manpower and repair parts.
"We utilized Army Landing Craft Utility assets to offset logistical cost sharing," said Capt. Eric Torrescarcovich," commander of Echo Co. "We've shipped multiple HMMWVs [High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles], U.S. Army 5-ton trucks, forklifts and other equipment for a total of 34 pieces of rolling stock and 24 Missile Training Canisters to Material Sustainment Command - Korea (MSC-K), a depot level maintenance facility," he added.
Unit leaders quickly started looking at different logistical options to replace aging equipment that was starting to regularly breakdown, which ate up valuable man-hours and costs.
"At the tactical level we focus on providing direct support to the battalion, but we had to take a look at the 'Big Picture' and say "Who is providing support to us," said Torrescarcovich.
"As Gen. Perna [Gen. Gustave F. Perna, commanding general, U.S. Army Materiel Command] has mentioned in the past, we at the unit level need to recognize and understand the link between tactical and strategic sustainment capabilities and that relationships matter in building and sustaining those links so that we can build an enduring presence in the Indo-Pacific Theater," he added.
With Echo Co. leadership in the lead, working and establishing relationships with U.S. Army Materiel Command, 10th Support Group, 19th Expeditionary Sustainment Command and 8th Theater Sustainment Command was critical.
"We're able to synchronize and establish the vital coordination of water vessels, port space, port off-loading operations, and line hauls to and from MSC-K," said Chief Warrant 2 Binyam Mengestu, Maintenance Automotive Technician with 1-1 ADA.
"The 94th AAMDC [Army Air and Missile Defense Command] G-4 section pushed for support and funding from 8th TSC which secured the opportune lifts on the watercraft saving the battalion $300,000 in transportation costs," he added.
The established relationships and teamwork between the units endured the cargo was transported and disposition was conducted correctly.
"Our Soldiers would take care of getting the vehicles from Fort to Port. 10th SG oversaw the transportation and the on load from Port to Port and 19th ESC would get it from Port to Fort in Korea," said Mengestu.
The creation of the relationships was crucial to the success of the mission.
"As we began planning for the mission, we made a concerted effort to travel to Korea to meet face to face with the Deputy Commander of 19th ESC and the MSC-K Director," said Torrescarcovich.
We were also able to meet with the J-4 of USARPAC [U.S. Army Pacific] in Hawaii to ensure we had a shared understanding of the mission and the support required to make it a success. Our efforts were then expanded to include sustainment support to our sister unit in Guam, he added.
This operation was no small feat for the Soldiers of Echo Company.
"Overseeing this coordination was a crash course in theater sustainment," said Torrescarcovich. I was able to see more of the 'Big Picture' when it came to Army sustainment and will take these lessons with me as I continue my Army career," he added.
The Army and its logisticians must focus on readiness while also establishing sustainability in the US Indo-Pacific Theater.
"When it comes to coordinating support far away from established maintenance depots, cultivating relationships and finding cost savings to the unit and the Army will be the priority in the near future," said Torrescarcovich.
In our current environment, Echo Co. stands as a great example of a smaller unit building relationships with other organizations in order to leverage the broader sustainment enterprise for long-term sustainability, he added.