LIVORNO, Italy – The 839th Transportation Battalion, Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command, and its Italy Detachment coordinated the upload of more than 400 MaxxPro Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles to Military Sealift Command’s voyage-chartered vessel, MV Liberty Pride, at the seaport here September 13 - 15, 2020. The MRAP’s are being transported from Army Prepositioned Stocks in Europe to the U.S. Central Command area of operations.
A strategic seaport operation on this scale requires extensive planning and synchronization across a number of commands. In Livorno, the Army Field Support Battalion-Africa, the requiring activity, the 39th Transportation Battalion’s Movement Control Office-Livorno, the U.S. Army Garrison-Italy’s Camp Darby facility, along with the Italian Base Command, Carabinieri, and Italian port counterparts were all critical to executing the equipment movement effectively and safely.
“It’s been a team effort across the board,” said Lt. Col. Scott F. Wyatt, 839th Trans. Bn. commander. “There’s a team from AFSBn-Africa that’s worked on the vehicles to ensure they’re ready for upload on to the Liberty Pride and to get the vessel on its way to meet its requirements. In addition, our U.S. Navy partners at MSC provided the maximum amount of capability the U.S. can bring to bear regarding sealift for this operation.”
Wyatt added that the 839th’s Italy Detachment host-nation professionals are especially critical to missions like these.
“Having a host-nation professional workforce that’s continuity and relationship-based is vital to SDDC and our ability to project power globally. Not only does the Italy Detachment maintain those relationships at the port here in Livorno and throughout Italy, but they also travel to multiple countries throughout the AOR. Every port is different, every country is different, but to have that continuity and to be able to go to any port, any time, and conduct operations, we couldn’t do that without our host-nation professionals.”
Camp Darby, located near the Livorno port, is home to both the 839th and AFSBn-Africa. Its primary mission is to support war reserve storage, maintenance, and the movement of equipment for operations across the globe. Camp Darby’s location is well suited to this role, affording rapid access to several transportation nodes to include an airport, railroads and highways, making it a key power projection platform for U.S. forces.
Mr. Antonio DeMarco, Italy Detachment’s terminal operations manager and an Italian host-nation professional, reinforced the area’s role as a transportation platform. “We have a good relationship with the port authority,” said DeMarco. “We feel comfortable using the port of Livorno. Its vicinity to Camp Darby is important to us.”
Similar to other U.S. Army units at Camp Darby, the AFSBn-Africa is primarily comprised of an Italian workforce, with a small contingent of U.S. Army Soldiers and Department of the Army Civilians. According to Lt. Col. Miguel Flores, AFSBn commander, a lot of work and a huge team effort went into preparing these vehicles for shipment.
“Our Battalion started the work in January, pre-COVID. Our Support Operations Office set the conditions and the Directorates of Supply, Maintenance and Quality Assurance, through coordinated efforts, completed all requirements to ensure these vehicles were in 10/20 standards prior to shipment. COVID interrupted our efforts, but once we returned to work, we were back at it in full force until we received vessel confirmation and load dates from SDDC. Movement to the port was another collaborative effort which was executed both safely and successfully.”
Safety considerations and COVID preventative measures were a priority during the upload. “ ’Safe, slow and secure’ is our motto for this operation,” said Mr. Eduardo I. Salas, director of the Italy Detachment. “We’ve incorporated COVID mitigation in every part of the process. From masks to hand washing, it’s key that we keep our people safe and don’t become complacent about COVID.”
Learn more about SDDC, MSC, AFSBN-Africa, Camp Darby and the Global Deployment and Distribution Enterprise at: