NAHA MILITARY PORT, Okinawa, Japan -- The summer of 2020 is different for the 835th Transportation Battalion or “Team Champion” for a number of reasons. The most obvious is the COVID-19 epidemic and the impact to operations in Okinawa and the unit's supporting battle space in Southeast Asia. Another big difference for the battalion is that members have the opportunity to shape the future force in accordance with the National Defense Strategy.
An ongoing mission with the Marine Corps on Okinawa gives the 835th Transportation Battalion the opportunity to do just that, shape the future force. The 835th Transportation Battalion is known for their world-class support from Naha Military Port (NMP) in Okinawa to provide mission support to the nine countries it is responsible for in Southeast Asia.
The III Marine Expeditionary Forces (III MEF) and Team Champion have a habitual-support relationship for deployment, deployment to home station and sustainment operations. III MEF asked Team Champion to be part of their Program Objective Memorandum 21 (POM 21) from the ground up. POM 21 is a Marine Corps’ force modernization effort starting with the divestment of excess or obsolete ground equipment on Okinawa.
The divestment of the equipment is important because it is one of the ways the Marine Corps provides cost avoidance funding reinvestment in POM 21. Team Champion executes a primary role in this operation – training the workforce to ensure a baseline of information is transformed into the daily knowledge of III MEF that will translate into their tactics techniques and procedures (TTP).
The training focus points are understanding the proper steps and requirements to ship cargo back to the U.S., consolidate information and input the data into the Export Travel Release Requests (ETRR) to assist in the booking process via the Integrated Booking System (IBS) with the commercial carrier, and to act as a liaison between the customer and commercial carrier. Ensuring the information processed is correct streamlines the operation, reduces booking delays, and reduces cost due to processing delays when cargo dimensions do not meet input data. These small issues can cause thousands of dollars each year to every mission.
Team Champion was able to provide additional assistance by creating a joint Equipment Consolidation Point (ECP) on Naha Military Port. The ECP served as the reception point for all vehicles entering NMP enabling property accountability for Marine Corps units as well as the ability to gain all vehicle data required for booking in IBS and In-Transit Visibility (ITV). The addition of the joint ECP is an adjustment to the normal deployment process that increases efficiency and accuracy.
The mission will culminate for Team Champion in the first week of July when the MV Green Cove arrives on NMP for the uploading of all cargo supporting equipment divestiture, and other sustainment cargo moves globally. This is just another example of the importance of building partnerships and relationships to support the Joint Deployment and Distribution Enterprise.