POTI, Georgia - With overcast and showery winds, Poti takes its geographical location on the eastern Black Sea coast and, like most port cities, provided a stark contrast from the beaming hot sun rays of Tbilisi, Georgia, where U.S. Army advanced echelon and main body personnel from the 2d Squadron, 2d Cavalry Regiment initially arrived.
Gearing up for the joint and multinational training exercise, Agile Spirit 19, 2/2CR Soldiers along with additional support from U.S., Georgian and Turkish contractors began the process of unloading vehicles at the port in Poti, Georgia, July 24, 2019.
Once completed, Soldiers staged each vehicle in serials at the Senaki Air Base, Georgia, in preparation for the two-day tactical road march back to the Vaziani Military Base in Tbilisi, Georgia, to kick off AS19.
AS19 is a cooperatively led exercise between the Georgian Defense Forces and U.S. Army Europe, designed to support theater security cooperation and training efforts among the 14 allies and participating partnering nations. The exercise is designed to improve readiness, interoperability, mobility and posture of combat credible forces across the European theater specifically in Georgia.
Sgt. 1st Class Terry Murphy, joint fire support specialist, 2/2CR, took lead for the entire port unloading process.
"I was a part of the ADVON crew," said Murphy. "We all came over here to Senaki to start unloading the vehicles and getting them to start a line haul down to Vaziani."
To ensure that the vehicles were staged for the tactical road march as efficiently as possible, Murphy unloaded each vehicle from the ship to include High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles, Light Medium Tactical Vehicles, Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Trucks, Stryker vehicle variants and more.
"I was asked by Maj. [Nathaniel] Carter to take on the role to get these vehicles staged and ready to go," said Murphy. "I took it as a challenge to see what I can do in my profession to help get these vehicles pushed out."
Murphy believed that they were able to stay organized and quickly download by utilizing feedback and integration between the contractors and Soldiers, with his going above and beyond to ensure mission success.
"I started the process around 8 o'clock last night," said Murphy. "While I was down here, I started to link in with the contractors that were here so that I could actually integrate with them and figure out exactly what was on the ship itself. This way I could figure out where I needed to serialize all of the vehicles and get them ready for the next morning for the guys to come out and start taking them to Senaki."
Preparation began long before AS19commenced. Murphy worked with the training, supply and human resource sections, enrolled in the unit movement officer course and receive hands-on training in effort to learn from the mistakes of previous unit port activities.
"[The UMO course] helps you understand the equipment and what you're actually moving, making sure that you're moving the right pieces at the right time in the right location," said Murphy.
"Most of the training that would be needed out here would be the UMO course on top of actually doing some kind of port activity and seeing exactly how it's done with another unit before you come out here," Murphy continued. "This way you understand their problems before you actually get out here, and then, we can start fixing the problems that they had so that you don't have the same problems."
Once the port unloading activities and tactical road march are completed, Murphy can shift his focus to his primary tasking and making sure rounds land safely inside the impacted area during each exercise.
"My overall role inside of AS19 is actually going in and doing the fire support piece of it," said Murphy. "My guys are calling for fire, and I'm making sure that the rounds that they have come in that it's safe, and [they] don't get hurt."
With the opening ceremony kicking off on July 27, 2019, 2/2CR will work with additional U.S. military units and its allies and partners for the upcoming platoon live fire exercises and squadron combined-arms live fire exercises.