By Capt. Andre Cutas, 836 Trans. Bn. Operations OfficerOctober 25, 2019
Many years ago while assigned to the 595th Transportation Brigade I recall our reserve forces were referred to as augmentees. I am grateful to see that we have moved away from this approach as our total force integration (TFI) partners are not augmentees to the 836thTransportation Battalion, but have full Mission Command (C2) and are responsible for every aspect of port operations in support of 25th Infantry Division JRTC rotations.
The mission of the 836th Transportation Battalion is to coach, mentor, teach, and assess the TFI units during 25th ID JRTC deployments and deployments to home station from/to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. When a TFI unit deploys with a Mission Command (C2) element, the 836th Transportation Battalion coaches and guides the C2 element (who is in the right seat) to complete all required tasks and coordination between multiple stakeholders to ensure mission success. The usual stakeholders during a JRTC operation are: 25th ID, Fleet Logistics Center-Pearl Harbor (FLC-PH), 599th Transportation Brigade, 402nd AFSB, DLA Pacific, Navy Cargo Handling Battalion 1, and a host of other local logistics enablers.
Prior to deployment to Pearl Harbor, the 836th Transportation Battalion conducted a series of In-Progress Reviews (IPR) with the assigned TFI unit(s) and mapped out their roles and responsibilities for the upcoming operation.
Mission Command/C2 elements from a Deployment & Distribution Support Battalion (DDSB) were primarily focused on the overall operation/big picture to include managing an Expeditionary Terminal Operations Element (ETOE) usually organic to another TFI unit/command. The assigned ETOE focuses on operationalizing their personnel (dictated by the C2 in the DDSB) to initially support pre-deployment operations and then shifting to execute the port operation. During the port operation the ETOE focuses on ensuring that all staging yards and holds/decks on the vessel are manned during the operation for both day and night shifts.
Before TFI units deploy to Hawaii, they provide a CONOPS brief to the 599th Transportation Brigade. The DDSB (C2) took the lead role with the ETOE in the supporting role; each element briefed their respective tasks/roles throughout the operation. The 836th Transportation Battalion briefed the overall assessment plan of both TFI units and additional training that the 836th/599th will provide to the units during the operation.
At the conclusion of the operation the 836thTransportation Battalion conducted a comprehensive After Action Review (AAR) modeled after the National Training Center's (NTC) approach; going into detail over each task assessed. Additionally, TFI units provided invaluable feedback to the assessment team, which brought improvements to the overall assessment operation. One of the most frequent comments the TFI units provided is the uniqueness of port operations at Pearl Harbor. The operation/training is unlike any other as the TFI units have Mission Command and are fully engaged in every aspect of the operation.