By Sgt. Daniel D. Haun, 300th Mobile Public Affairs DetachmentDecember 6, 2012
BLUE GRASS ARMY DEPOT, Ky. (July 20, 2012) -- Golden Cargo--an annual nationwide munitions transportation exercise--offers real-world training for Reserve Component units, especially those gearing up for deployment.
One such unit, the 888th Movement Control Team out of Providence, R.I., is using this training opportunity to prepare for a pending mobilization.
"For mobilization, Golden Cargo is a great asset, because we have many junior-enlisted Soldiers. This is their real first time exposure to the varied systems being utilized, and the process of how things are approved, and how we work with our chain of command," said Staff Sgt. Aaron Lindenberger, the senior movement noncommissioned officer of the 888th Movement Control Team.
"This mission is especially important to the unit as a whole, because we're getting ready for deployment," agreed Spc. Patricia Hutnak, an Exeter, R.I., native and transportation management coordinator with the 888th. "The people who have only been in the Army for maybe one or two years can get a really good feel of what our job is, and how to do it, before we actually need to put it in action when it's going to be a lot harder."
Convoy Operations carry munitions from one Army Depot to another, all the while being tracked by multiple movement control teams.
"We do route mitigations, we track convoys, in or out, and all the movement concerning containers and pallets," said Lindenberger. "We process movement requests for either organic or external assets, or unit requirements," he said.
Lindenberger and his team use multiple tracking systems to guide convoys along their routes. Without their assistance, the convoys could find themselves in untimely predicaments.
"It's critically important, especially mitigation on the road network," said Lindenberger. "If we approve too many convoy clearances to move on the same routes at the same time, we can have unnecessary traffic, and possibly convoys coming to complete halts with traffic jams or incidents on the road," he said.
As the unit tracks transportation during the training exercise, they also look forward to the approaching deployment.
Hutnak explained that developing chemistry within the unit was a key part of this exercise.
"Being with a unit for so long, you start becoming a family, and when you're overseas you really need to be able to trust the Soldier next to you like your brother or sister … it's really important to know that you have friends and you can always go to whoever you need, whenever you need," said Hutnak.
Lt. Thomas Krug, a Philadelphia native and transportation management officer with the 888th, reiterated the importance of the exercise for the fledgling Soldiers.
"It's important because a lot of these Soldiers are new to the systems," said Krug. "They've been trained on the systems, but they haven't had a lot of hands-on experience. It's a good time to get acquainted with the unit, get acquainted with the systems we use, make mistakes, adapt and learn," he explained.