By Capt. Gerald BowmanOctober 4, 2011
Though Kuwait is only approximately the size of New Jersey, this tiny nation supports much of the work being done in Iraq, and the equipment needed there must first come through Kuwait.
As units criss-cross through the roads of this desert nation, they have a central link assisting them through the process - a point to connect the unit to the trucks and roads they will need for
their mission. The 330th Transportation Battalion, Movement Control is this link. The Highway
Traffic Division is the face of this assistance, and its job is accomplished when the movement and
deployment process slides seamlessly into the units' processes of muster, deployments and onward movements into Iraq.
The Kuwait Rear Operation Center is the link between the 330th Transportation Battalion and
the supported units who move through the sands of Kuwait. If it moves, it comes through KROC. In the political system of Kuwait, the Kuwait Ministry of the Interior is charged with the safety and operation of the highways in Kuwait. Together, the 330th and KMOI have forged a joint planning cell that enables the Army to project its force in the region of Iraq, and accomplish a step in the continuing process of creating a free Iraq. This relationship is a piece of what enables the Soldiers sweating in the heat at the Naval Base to get the job done. The relationship-building between KMOI and the 330th has been an arduous process, with many cups of coffee and discussions resulting in the partnership. Sgt. 1st Class Charles Hands and Staff Sgt. Akeem Taylor work alongside the Kuwaiti patrolmen and officers of the Ministry
of the Interior. Both parties have the joint goal of safety on the roads, and upon this, the working relationship has been built gradually. Already, they have supported hundreds of the escort missions, along with KMOI, providing for the safety of U.S. forces.
An important part of the relationship is cultural understanding. The Islamic tradition is strong in Kuwait, and from the interpreters integrated into the 330th team, Hands and Taylor have had
eye-opening experiences. The tradition of Ramadan has been one of the latest ways by which the KROC team has learned about the cultural aspects of Kuwaiti life. During the month of Ramadan, the focus for the Kuwaiti population is on sacrifice and reflection. It is customary not only to fast, forgoing any food, but also to refrain from drinking even water during daylight hours. Working with the Kuwaitis, Hands said, "They have educated us not only on the tradition
of Ramadan, but also on the cultural aspects of Kuwait and its people." Though the Kuwaiti driving methods can cause the uninitiated driver to white-knuckle the steering wheel, there are many sites in Kuwait that easily impress. The sights of the oil fields and the Kuwait Towers, recalling images from the first Gulf War, are unquestionably worth seeing.
Hands and Taylor, in addition to working at KROC, serve with the Mobile Response Team. This
mission circulates Kuwait verifying the link-ups and escorts provided by our allies in the Kuwait
Ministry of the Interior. This gives them an opportunity to see a wide spectrum of the missions
going on throughout the country, and a great view of the vastness of the desert of Kuwait. Every day, Hands and Taylor are where the rubber meets the long road of Kuwait. This is where the mission of the 330th happens.
It is now late in the evening. The sun has gone down, and the trucks are cooling at the Iraq border while the mission prepares to cross into Iraq. For the Soldiers of the combat arms battalions, the mission is just beginning. However, the transportation process from Kuwait is coming to a close. As Soldiers from the 265th Movement Control Team process the trucks through customs, one can reflect on all the hard work it took to get to this point. The trucks
have been spotted and loaded by the crane operators of the 531st, while KMOI and KROC coordinated to get the convoys safely on the road. The HTD verified the movement times to ensure all were met, and the Soldiers made it all happen. Here in the dust between Iraq and Kuwait, the combat ready Soldiers are ready to continue their journey in the fading light of the desert dusk.