U.S. Army National Guard and U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers subordinate to the 369th Sustainment Brigade conducted a convoy to Israel on May 30, 2023, to participate in a mortuary affairs subject matter exchange with the Israeli Defense Forces.
Spanning hundreds of miles with challenges such as heat temperatures above 100 degrees Fahrenheit, the journey of the 1st Theater Sustainment Command into Israel ensured that a new chapter of collaboration and mutual learning unfolded.
The convoy centered around the transport of the Mobile Integrated Remains Collection System, a crucial tool for handling mortuary affairs on the battlefield, which rested on the M1075 Palletized Load System, a truck-based logistics platform.
Louisiana National Guard Spc. Emmanuel Moore, a wheeled vehicle mechanic with the 3673rd Support Maintenance Company, stressed the importance of this exercise.
“Transporting the MIRCS allows us to check our movement processes,” Moore said. “Moreover, carrying out this operation with Israel strengthens our relationships and mutual understanding.”
Allies and partners enable strategic readiness—the Army’s ability to mobilize, deploy and sustain forces in large-scale combat operations.
According to Fleet Master Chief Derrick Walters, Senior Enlisted Leader, there are currently 21 countries under the purview of U.S. Central Command—with Israel being the most recent addition.
“It’s a growing process as we envelop Israel in USCENTCOM as a regional partner,” Walters said. “This is critically important for regional security and stability.”
Indeed, external readiness constitutes a crucial factor in the success of these operations. Collaboration with allies like Israel is instrumental in accomplishing a mission’s immediate objectives and laying the groundwork for strengthened international relations and future joint efforts.
This exercise also demonstrated the importance of interoperability between the U.S. and its allies. The smooth transition of the MIRCS into Israeli territory, and the subsequent discussions around mortuary affairs, were made possible by clear communication, understanding of respective military protocols and mutual respect between the U.S. and Israeli forces.
Without clear communication and shared readiness, the complexities of border crossings and customs procedures could have led to challenges and misunderstandings of customs procedures.
The result could be an investigation or confiscation of essential items, causing substantial mission delays or even loss of crucial supplies hindering the actual setup of the MIRCS, and potentially altering the course and outcomes of the mission.
Due to the cooperation, understanding and respecting custom regulations, these challenges were prevented.