JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. – “Our goals are to make an already successful logistics enterprise on JBLM even better,” said Lt. Col. Aaron Cornett, the 53rd Transportation Battalion (Movement Control) commander, “to build partnerships and work in concert with other logistics organizations across the installation; to integrate ourselves into the ESC, I Corps, and U.S. Indo-Pacific exercise cycle; and to train to be ready when the call comes to deploy in support of U.S. objectives abroad.”
After 18 months of preparation the 53rd successfully transitioned here from Joint Base Eustis-Langley, signified by an activation ceremony at Wilson Gym, Dec. 3, 2021, where the battalion commander shared the organization’s goals at its official integration into the greater JBLM community, the 593rd ESC and I Corps.
As part of an Army-wide initiative, movement control battalions were each specifically aligned to an ESC and corps with the 53rd now supporting here at JBLM.
"Each ESC and corps has built their movement control battalions a bit differently, but one common thread is that those movement control battalions have become multi-functional transportation battalions," explained Cornett. "Not only do they provide mission command for movement control teams, but they also provide other kinds of transportation support, including theater-level distribution of equipment and supplies, material and cargo handling, and tactical transportation of equipment and supplies.
"We expect to provide multi-modal movement control and transportation support to the ESC and corps (here), across the Western U.S., and throughout the INDO-PACOM area of operations," he continued. "More specifically, we’ll have the ability to distribute equipment and supplies from the theater base to the tactical level; to provide movement control and in-transit visibility at various APOD/E, SPOD/E, and other logistical nodes; and to provide material and cargo handling at multiple nodes."
The ceremony provided an opportunity for the organization to reflect on the transition to JBLM.
“I was very pleased with the detailed and methodical plan that was put in place to ensure we were manned accordingly and had ample facilities upon our arrival," Cornett said. "The most challenging part has probably been essentially standing up a battalion from scratch – building the staff, occupying new facilities, developing new processes and procedures, and becoming integrated into the sustainment fray at JBLM.
“It was a lot of work, and involved many long days from those who were on the ground first," he continued. "The most surprising piece has been how creative the team has been. There have been a lot of great ideas from the team on how to make the unit as successful as possible. It’s been fun to watch and be a part of”
The Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment returned from Europe in July 2021, after supporting Operation Atlantic Resolve . Nearly 50 percent of the unit immediately started to transition from Virginia to Washington state.
"The quick turn-around definitely created a lot of stress on Soldiers and families," Cornett noted. "The combination of returning from deployment, moving all the way across the country, and assuming a new mission all within five months is no easy feat, but the Soldiers have risen to the occasion, embraced the challenge, and are excited about being here and being part of the 593d ESC."
The 53d Movement Control Battalion was first activated May 28, 1943 as Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 53d Quartermaster Truck Battalion, and it was activated again in North Africa June 22, 1943.
The battalion served in seven campaigns during World War II, including: Sicily (with Arrowhead), Naples-Foggia, Anzio (with Arrowhead), Rome- Arno, Southern France (with Arrowhead), Rhineland, and central Europe.
With the advent of the Global War on Terrorism in 2001, the battalion has experienced a near constant rotation of units into and out of the CENTCOM area of responsibility with the headquarters and subordinate units deploying to Afghanistan, Iraq, and Kuwait as part of Operation Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom, and New Dawn.
Through a multitude of in-activations, re-designations, and re-activations the 53d Transportation Battalion has marched through the decades to its re-organization, Oct. 29, 1999, at Fort McPherson, Georgia, into the 53d Movement Control Battalion. The battalion most recently deployed out of Fort Eustis, Virginia, in support of Atlantic Resolve and the European Deterrence Initiative.