PORT ARTHUR, Texas-- Moving hundreds of vehicles and tons to supplies and equipment from Hawaii to the U.S. may appear chaotic to the untrained eye. But to the U.S. Army, this type of activity is considered routine.
In a Sealift Emergency Deployment Readiness Exercise (SEDRE), Soldiers from 7th Transportation Brigade (Expeditionary) (7th TB (X)) out of Joint Base Langley-Eustis were tapped with the responsibility of moving the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division’s (2/25) equipment from Pearl Harbor, Hawaii to the Ports of Port Arthur and Beaumont, Texas in order for 2/25 to continue onward to the Joint Readiness Training Center (JRTC) at Fort Polk, La. for their Joint Readiness Exercise (JRE).
It's thousands of people of various MOS's and multiple units from different military bases, states and areas of the world, involved in moving tons of equipment and personnel from one place to another, by land and sea- in the middle of a pandemic.
To the untrained eye, organized chaos.
U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Darrell Baria, a cargo specialist (88H) at 368th Seaport Operations Company, 11th Trans. Battalion, 7th TB (X), is the Operations NCOIC. He said that beyond the typical safety measures of moving equipment off a vessel (hard hats and reflective gear), there are now COVID-19 safety mitigations as well.
“My overall mission is to ensure everything is done safely and correctly,” he said. “When I say ‘correctly’, I mean that people aren’t walking backwards off the vessel, everyone is maintaining social distancing, and everybody has their masks on.”
COVID-19 has not stopped the U.S. Army from doing what it does best and is known for throughout the world: Being the globally responsive force ready to deploy at a moment’s notice.
U.S. Army Capt. Joe Hayslett, Commander of 612th Movement Control Team, 53rd Trans. Battalion, 7th TB (X), just took command two months ago and is using this exercise to see what they need to work on as a unit- regardless of COVID-19.
“Our mission is to provide in-transit visibility to this equipment,” Hayslett said. “This exercise has created a great opportunity to test our unit’s capability.”
Spc. Zachary Teachey, a Transportation Management Coordinator (88N), runs one of the Portable Deployment Kits (PDK) that tracks the equipment off the vessel via Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tag. He recognizes the importance of training regardless of what is going on in the world.
“The importance of this exercise is basically, so that Soldiers know the knowledge of a real-life mission,” he said.
“To be able to do their jobs in a real life mission, perfectly and on time.”
While the pandemic persists, so do the Soldiers of 7th TB (X). From the commanders of the units to the Soldiers , there is a shared understanding, a common goal: Readiness beyond adversity that they cannot control.