FORT STEWART, Ga. – Have you ever wondered how a heavy armor unit such as the 3rd Infantry Division is able to move hundreds of thousands of pounds of equipment from one place to another when they are traveling to a training site or going on a deployment? How does all the weaponry, tactical gear, vehicles weighing over 10 tons and their personnel get from their point of origin to their destination and back? It is all thanks to the efforts put forth by two appointed members of the deploying unit.
The role of a Unit Movement Officer can be a challenging but rewarding role. They are the start point for a unit attending training, deployments and redeployments.
“A UMO is that unit’s subject matter expert when it comes to all things movement related,” said Chief Warrant Officer 3 Jay Turner, the 3rd ID mobility officer. “They are in charge of moving your containers, moving vehicles and rolling stock from your point of origin to your point of destination and back.”
The UMO’s are an integral part of the unit as they get ready to move forward. They are the ones who coordinate all movement, whether it be by land, air, sea or rail systems.
There are several requirements to obtain the UMO identifier. The Soldier must be in the rank of staff sergeant or second lieutenant and above, they must possess a security clearance and attend a specialized training course.
Traditionally, the course was taught over a two-week period as a residential course, meaning Soldiers had to physically attend the course.
Years ago, Fort Stewart was one of the training sites available to teach the United States Army Forces Command-approved residential course along with a few others. However, due to the recent Covid-19 pandemic, Fort Stewart implemented a new way to teach the course to its Soldiers.
“You always want to do a resident course,” said Maj. Joshua Petrus, the 3rd ID transportation officer. “But what we’ve found through the virtual means is it’s quicker access and it’s easier to get the students the training and help they may need.”
Turner said Fort Stewart is the first installation to set up a virtual training class for the UMO course.
With the help of a virtual meetings application as well as the Blackboard site, students are now able to attend the course at home, maintaining safe social distancing. This also safely manages the demands for mission readiness, according to Petrus.
The instructors worked closely with the subject matter experts at the U.S. Army Transportation School in Virginia in order to establish a sustainable virtual working environment.
“We have reached back to Fort Lee to actually attend our class and see how we’re conducting school and provide feedback and supply expertise to the students currently in attendance,” Petrus said.
One of the top priorities for the 3rd ID is maintaining and keeping highly-trained Soldiers, no matter the environment present. This is the first class being taught with a second class promised for March.
“I would say that 3ID is pretty much setting the standard for everyone else,” said Turner. “We’ve had transportation offices from all around call and ask us ‘how did you all do this and can you help us get something established at our base?’ We are setting the standard.”
Fort Stewart will continue to lead the effort in implementing the Army’s vision by executing the priorities that will define success in making America’s forces more lethal, capable and efficient.