By Mrs Donna Klapakis (SDDC)January 6, 2012
BARBERS POINT KALAELOA HARBOR, Hawaii -- At Barbers Point Kalaeloa Harbor, Hawaii, in December, the 599th Transportation Brigade loaded the 25th Infantry Division Combat Aviation Brigade's cargo and equipment onto the M/V Green Lake for deployment to Afghanistan.
Although the 599th had never used Barbers Point for a major move, Carlos Tibbetts, 599th terminal management chief, said the unit decided to move the CAB from that harbor for four main reasons.
"First, we were looking at a scenario if something happened where a lot of military units had to leave or come back to the island all at once. Pearl Harbor would be completely full, as would the commercial ports. We need to keep all of our port options open.
"Second, flying aircraft in and out of Barbers Point is ideal; you don't have the restrictions that you have going in and out of Pearl Harbor or downtown Honolulu.
"Third, there is also much less congestion for moving cargo between Wheeler [Army Airfield] and Barbers Point than there is between Wheeler and downtown for the commercial ports or even between Wheeler and Pearl Harbor.
"Fourth, the helicopter staging area at Pearl Harbor is not really far, but when you're talking about towing helicopters, any distance and time you can save is important. The size of the staging area at Barbers Point Harbor is huge -- it's about four football fields -- right there on the dock at Barbers Point and all in one place," Tibbetts said.
Capt. Philip Raumberger, 599th action officer for the load out, emphasized that the success of the move was the result of a group effort.
"It was teamwork that made this all come together. The 302nd Transportation Battalion and other elements of the 9th Mission Support Command, U.S. Army Reserve, were great assets during the move," he said. "The CAB took care of reception and loading its helicopters at the port. Additionally, each of the 599th's three battalions sent Soldiers or civilians to work with members of the 599th to form a deployment and distribution support team that performed seamlessly."
Raumberger said close coordination was essential because of a short lead time.
"We decided to use Barber's Point the first week in November. It was a very short timeline to when we had to execute the mission, so it took a lot of resources all working together.
"Central Gulf Lines, the State of Hawaii, Harbors Division, Military Sealift Command, stevedore contractor, and longshoremen were all easy to work with and very accommodating under such a constrained timeline," Raumberger said.
Maj. Kimberly Nash, support operations officer, 209th Aviation Support Battalion, and CAB special project officer for the move, said she enjoyed working with the 599th.
"Working with the 599th was a privilege. They provided me every level of support and provided a proactive liaison between my unit and the Barber's Point personnel. I have worked with many SDDC units over my 15-plus years of service and this was the best support I have ever received during an outload," she said in an email interview.
Nash also agreed with Tibbetts' assessment of Barbers Point as a good location for the load out.
"Barbers Point Harbor offered us a location that was uniquely ours to operate in and around," she said. "The sheer concrete space allowed us to easily maneuver helicopters and equipment while on the ground. Because there are not nearly as many flight restrictions, we were able to fly the helicopters in at a schedule that best facilitated the Combat Aviation Brigade's requirements, as well as helped us accomplish the mission quickly and all in a matter of a few hours."
Nash said the location also helped reduce the noise impact to civilians along the flight route, which is something she said the CAB always considers.
Tibbetts also praised the 25th CAB's, support, innovation and planning.
"It was nice to have Major Nash and the sergeant major out there," Tibbetts said. "They gave us a lot of support. In fact, this was the smoothest move we've had in a long time. We began to load the helicopters at 7 a.m. on Dec. 14, and by 7:05, the first one was already being towed onto the ship.
"The CAB was really smart in that they hooked up their tow bars and tugs the day before, so they were ready to roll. Because of their planning, we were able to get their helicopters and their tugs all loaded by 2:30 p.m. -- a stupendous effort."