1 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL
During Joint Logistics Over the Shore Native Fury 21, Soldiers from the 368th Seaport Operations Company alongside the U.S. Navy and Marines download Naval equipment for a training opportunity. The floating platform, or Trident pier, is used for linking deeper drafting vessels to the shore.
2 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – During Joint Logistics Over the Shore Native Fury 21, Soldiers from the 368th Seaport Operations Company alongside the U.S. Navy and Marines download Naval equipment for a training opportunity. The floating platform, or Trident pier, is used for linking deeper drafting vessels to the shore. (Photo Credit: Capt. Jordan Jendersee) VIEW ORIGINAL

The U.S. military has been renowned for its ability to adapt, overcome, project combat power, sustain, and maneuver with swift lethality. The Army has forged niche capabilities that are utilized across every combatant command, yet few within the active force understand or realize these lesser-known skill sets exist. As the Army has adapted to the ever-changing areas of operations, one thing remains the same, to gain the decisive advantage, one must project combat power with speed and aggression. Doing so requires sustainment units to bring the force ashore. The history of large-scale combat operations (LSCO) and the innovation of initial infiltration tactics have served as the building blocks for military and seaport operations. The first large application of amphibious transport through floating pier assets and port download operations was in World War II’s mulberry harbors. The harbors were composed of modular floating concrete and metal pieces and were used as the conduit between deep drafting vessels that contained heavy cargo and vehicles and shallow beaches. These harbors laid the foundation for what is today’s Army watercraft and seaport operations. This equipment allowed the Allied forces to rapidly offload cargo onto the beach during the invasion of Normandy. The harbors brought the force ashore in a brand new approach, propelling the development and employment of Army seaport and maritime forces.

These maritime capabilities now reside with the 7th Transportation Brigade (Expeditionary) (TB(X)), a unit whose modular composition has the broad ability to haul 23 Abrams A1 tanks on one vessel, conduct riverine basin operations, construct a modular platform and pier for rapid employment of combat power over the shore, and open and operate bare beach, degraded or fixed ports globally. With the Army’s focus on LSCO, the 7th TB(X)’s execution of seaport operations became overwhelmingly important and the fulcrum for mission success. The brigade exercises its vast and particular talents through joint logistics over the shore (JLOTS) and joint readiness exercises, where units overcome no notice deployment orders, forward deploy to a training exercise, and are brought ashore for combat engagement through seaport operations.

The Joint Readiness Exercise (JRE) 2020 serves as a monumental demonstration of the Army’s vast adaptation to any problem set. Through a global pandemic, JRE20’s seaport operations execution incorporated the 7th TB(X) units alongside 2-25th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (IBCT), highlighting the impressive and rapid download of two large, medium-speed roll-on/roll-off (LMSR)s simultaneously at separate geographic locations. The 11th Transportation Battalion (Terminal), one of two terminal battalions within the 7th TB(X), presented the critical pieces that their companies bring to the fight, most importantly the 368th Seaport Operations Company (SOC). The 368th SOC, one of only two active SOCs, is unlike any other unit in the Army, as it is tailored for seaport operations. The unit consists of material handling equipment operators that utilize platforms that vary from 4,000-pound forklifts to rough terrain container handlers and organically provides proficient operators on hagglund and gantry cranes. Additionally, they extend their capabilities with drivers that can operate any platform. During JRE20, the SOC orchestrated the simultaneous download of both LMSRs, displaying their ability to control two offloads at separate locations. They downloaded 1,759 pieces of rolling stock through roll-on/roll-off (RO/RO) in addition to conducting crane lift-on/lift-off (LO/LO) of 300 containers off the USNS Fisher at Port Arthur, Texas. The unit’s second LMSR consisted of 269 pieces of RO/RO, along with 54 containers and 37 aviation aircraft LO/LO downloaded off of the USNS Brittin at Beaumont, Texas. The SOC impeccably performed the task in under 72 operational hours; moving focus to support the 567th Inland Cargo Transfer Company (ICTC) with staging operations and onward movement. ICTCs are more prominent throughout the force and are constructed to account for equipment and run central and receiving shipping point yards.

Furthermore, as the SOC downloads, they string together equipment accountability through the movement control teams and ICTCs. Accountability begins with the SOC registering each vehicle in the Global Air Transportation Execution System and processing it to leave the port. As the units laterally confirm counts through manual tallies and automated systems, the SOC moves vehicles forward to hand off to the ICTC for staging and onward movement. The capabilities that each unit brings to the warfighter in LSCO operations are often overlooked without understanding that the 7th TB(X) forces are what mission success hinges on. Being the only unit within the Army that is modular, has seaport operations tested experts, and is the largest force flow enabling asset reinforces the importance of their nested mission throughout the force. JRE and JLOTS exercises are imperative to showcase the unit’s competencies and provide companies to continually master their craft.

Overall, JRE20 is yet another example of how important and vast the seaport and maritime operations are to LSCO mission execution. Units like the 368th SOC provide the 11th TB(T) and 7th TB(X) commanders the flexibility to globally employ combat units and continually sustain the combat force through any port operation. As LSCO continues as the prominent focus, the 7th TB(X) will continue to serve as the point of convergence for combat units. Their niche capabilities to organically link the deploying forces’ cargo and vehicles from deep drafting vessels to any seaport situation further signifies the importance of what the unit offers. The Army’s ability to rapidly deploy with unmatched lethality, force projection, and sustainability would not be possible without the maritime capabilities supplied by the 7th TB(X) and their unique units.

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Capt. Jordan Jendersee serves as the commander, 368th Seaport Operations Company. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Psychology, Pre-Medicine, from the University of South Dakota, graduating as a distinguished military graduate and commissioning as an ordnance officer.

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This article was published in the April-June 2021 issue of Army Sustainment.

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