FORT STEWART, Georgia- U.S. Army Lt. Gen. (retired) William G. Webster, Coastal Georgia Military Affairs Coalition representative, PJ Waldrop, state director of Senator David Perdue’s office, and Sam Tostensen, field representative from Senator Perdue’s office, toured the rail load operations and received a briefing on a proposed plan for the rail marshalling area at Fort Stewart, Georgia, March 5.Command Sergeants Major Rebecca N. Myers, Fort Stewart Garrison’s senior enlisted leader, and Yetta J. Stewart, senior enlisted advisor, Army Field Support Battalion at Fort Stewart, and other Fort Stewart/Hunter Army Airfield representatives led the tour and briefed the distinguished guests on the RMA’s functions and how efficiencies in operations can be increased at the RMA.Richard Rayman, unit movement coordinator at the RMA, said a unit’s Soldiers load armored vehicles and tanks onto the rail line at the RMA for deployments, while RMA civilians assist with the process. Rayman also said that currently the RMA can handle a brigade combat team’s full line of equipment at a time.Thousands of pieces of equipment, such as M1 Abrams tanks, M2 Bradley Fighting Vehicles, M109 Paladin Howitzers, Joint Light Tactical Vehicles, and High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles are secured with chains to the rail line by Soldiers and then inspected by the RMA’s civilians, so the equipment can be shipped by train.“The rail marshalling area plays a pivotal role in our various deployments,” said Stewart.To increase efficiency and capacity, Rayman said in addition to the rail line, a plan is in place to conduct wheeled convoy operations through the wheel marshalling area, which will be co-located at RMA. There are also plans for new rail spurs to be added to the RMA in order to increase loading and unloading capacity. To reduce future costs, the container handling facility will buy new containers instead of relying on leased containers.“The whole project will cost $39 million and will take seven to nine years to see its full completion,” said Rayman.According to the briefing points presented to the visiting dignitaries, the improvements to the RMA are necessary for meeting the demands to rapidly push out military equipment to meet combat power needs at far-away locations while easing the pressure on Soldiers.“These additions will cut down the time it takes to deploy in half,” said Stewart. “That will mean Soldiers can spend more time with their Families, rather than spending so much time and effort here at RMA.”-30-