By Ms. Linda K Loebach (AMC)July 19, 2012
HAWTHORNE ARMY DEPOT, Nev.--For most of the 21 members of the 273rd TC DET Mission Control Team, who are completing annual training at Hawthorne Army Depot during Operation Golden Cargo, Spanish is their first language. But they are also fluent in English…and Army.
Seventeen men and four women speak Army jargon, easily switching from Spanish to English and back again.
The 273rd U.S. Army Reserve unit, 346th Battalion, is a brand new unit working out of Ceiba, Puerto Rico. Currently in "alert" status, they chose to do their annual two-week training working with ammunition, specifically with Operation Golden Cargo.
In its 21st year, Operation Golden Cargo is a national, functional exercise that links Army Reserve and National Guard Soldiers with real-world ammunition logistics operations and training opportunities, while providing support to the Army's Joint Munitions Command with ammunition requirements.
During the two weeks of Operation Golden Cargo, Soldiers successfully move full loads of live ammunition over long distances. Troops perform job duties that give them a sense of a mission accomplished and the training they receive is rarely found outside of theater.
This year at Golden Cargo, the 273rd is working as a Mission Control Team.
"We control everything from point A to point B," said Sgt. Danery Garcia, Unit Public Affairs Representative. "We track, track, track."
The unit tracks shipments of cargo on the western front of Operation Golden Cargo.
From ammo received from ships at Concord, Calif., to Hawthorne Army Depot, Nev., to an overnight station at Winnemucca, Nev., all the way to Tooele Army Depot in Utah, the 273rd checks cargo before it goes out and when it comes in to HWAD and makes sure all paperwork and numbers add up.
The unit ensures that convoys leave on time, tracks the movement of convoys of trucks at check points and rest points, helps resolve problems along the routes, and reports logistics information to all unit leaders.
The work area of the 273rd MCT is always bustling. One Soldier will begin to discuss in English a problem a driver has called in, then he'll switch to Spanish to ensure his co-worker completely understands the issue.
The unit's leader, Sgt. 1st Class Roy Daugherty, does not speak Spanish, but communication is not a problem, he said. In one way or another, they all make themselves understood.
"These days Soldiers are tremendously more educated. Now, they think out of the box and they give their input," said Daugherty.
Daugherty gives his own Soldiers high praise.
"These Soldiers are the best MCTs out there. They have a positive attitude, get things done, and aren't afraid to work hard," he said. "This exercise gives them a chance to step up and lead."
And they do it all, in Spanish, English…and Army.