USA — Program Examines Transportation Command’s Mission

WASHINGTON, Jan. 20, 2011 — U.S. Trans­porta­tion Com­mand and its peo­ple got top billing this week dur­ing a His­to­ry Chan­nel pre­mier that exam­ined their task of pack­ing and ship­ping every sin­gle item the U.S. mil­i­tary needs to keep oper­at­ing.

The Scott Air Force Base, Ill.-based com­mand took cen­ter stage dur­ing a “Mod­ern Mar­vels” series show on the tech­nol­o­gy and inge­nu­ity required to pack­age items for move­ment.

Air Force Gen. Dun­can J. McN­abb, Transcom’s com­man­der, described the mag­ni­tude of the command’s mis­sion of pro­vid­ing strate­gic move­ment for U.S. forces around the world.

“We basi­cal­ly do about 900 sor­ties a day, 2,600 truck move­ments. We have 44 ships that are on-load­ing, off-load­ing or under­way, and about 100 rail­car ship­ments every day,” he said. “If we actu­al­ly went to full-out war, we would do about three to four times that amount.”

McN­abb said ensur­ing com­bat­ant com­man­ders and warfight­ers have what they need to do their jobs is his top pri­or­i­ty, cit­ing Marine Corps Gen. James N. Mat­tis, com­man­der of U.S. Cen­tral Com­mand, and Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, com­man­der of NATO and U.S. forces in Afghanistan, as exam­ples.

“As I tell Gen­er­al Petraeus and Gen­er­al Mat­tis, my job is to make sure they nev­er wor­ry about this,” McN­abb said. “I will get it to them when they need it, and if I’ve got to speed things up, I will take care of that.”

Main­tain­ing that pledge is Transcom’s 1,400-member head­quar­ters staff, which super­vis­es the efforts of 145,000 work­ers world­wide.

Among them is Air Force Lt. Col. Travis Eng­land from the commander’s action group at the 818th Air and Space Oper­a­tions Cen­ter. He explained that the Air Force’s Air Mobil­i­ty Com­mand sup­port mis­sion is plan­ning mis­sions for crews, fil­ing flight plans, check­ing weath­er and notices to air­men, mon­i­tor­ing mis­sions, and look­ing for prob­lems and choke­points to solve poten­tial crises before they hap­pen.

“This isn’t rock­et sci­ence,” he said. “It’s hard­er.”

Air Force 1st Lt. Troy Barnes of the 436th Aer­i­al Port Squadron described the mis­sion at Dover Air Force Base, Del. The base sup­plies 75 per­cent of all car­go through the air tran­sit strate­gic air­lift sys­tem.

Air Force Tech. Sgt. Chad Hous­ton, a 436th Aer­i­al Port Squadron car­go proces­sor, walked TV view­ers through the pro­ce­dures used to inspect, weigh and pack­age the hun­dreds of pal­lets that arrive at Dover every day for out­bound flights. Air Force Capt. Don­nell Pittman explained how Transcom tracks the mas­sive num­ber of pal­lets mov­ing through its sys­tem with radio fre­quen­cy iden­ti­fi­ca­tion tags.

“On any giv­en day, we’ll have approx­i­mate­ly 600 tons of car­go. That’s a lot of stuff out there in the sys­tem, and that’s a lot of cus­tomers want­i­ng to know where their stuff is,” he said. “So every sin­gle pal­let will have an RF ID tag.”

Once pack­ag­ing is com­plet­ed, car­go is stored in a state-of-the-art ware­house, orga­nized by des­ti­na­tion, the nar­ra­tor explained. A full plane­load can be retrieved and ready to ship with­in two hours.

Just before depar­ture time, the crew uses vehi­cles called pay­load­ers to move the car­go to stag­ing docks. Each pay­loader can car­ry up to 60,000 pounds and load sev­en pal­lets at a time.

At the stag­ing docks, the crews group the pal­lets to ensure the best use of space aboard the air­craft. They load the hulk­ing car­go air­craft to ensure not a sin­gle inch of space is wast­ed.

Air Force Senior Air­man Louis Fer­rara said there’s a lot of grat­i­fi­ca­tion in know­ing how quick­ly the car­go he helps to move will arrive where it’s need­ed in the com­bat the­ater.

“If I upload this piece of car­go that has enough full-up armor kit for a Humvee on Fri­day, on that next Mon­day that per­son over in Afghanistan will be putting it onto his Humvee and dri­ve it away safe­ly because of the pal­let I uploaded for him,” he said. “We are very grate­ful for every­thing that we can do to help the peo­ple who are over there fight­ing for us every day.”

While air trans­port is the fastest way to move equip­ment and sup­plies, Transcom relies on land and sea ship­ments when the timetable allows.

The port at Bal­ti­more is one of the command’s key pack­ag­ing points for ship­ment by sea. There, the “Mod­ern Mar­vels” crew filmed Chi­nook heli­copters being pre­pared for ship­ment, with their 350- to 600-pound rotors removed and stored with­in the air­craft.

From there, it showed the chop­pers being lift­ed by crane aboard the USNS Men­don­ca oper­at­ing for the Navy’s Mil­i­tary Sealift Com­mand and low­ered into envi­ron­men­tal­ly con­trolled car­go hold.

“Mod­ern Mar­vels” opened the Transcom seg­ment of its show describ­ing “one mas­sive glob­al pack­ag­ing effort [that] lit­er­al­ly takes an Army to get the job done.”

“In fact,” it con­tin­ued, “it takes an Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force. Meet the men of women of U.S. Trans­porta­tion Com­mand -– U.S. Transcom for short. Their gar­gan­tu­an task is to pack and ship every sin­gle item required for all branch­es of the Amer­i­can mil­i­tary.”

The entire pro­gram is post­ed on the His­to­ry Channel’s Mod­ern Mar­vels web­site.

Source:
U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)

More news and arti­cles can be found on Face­book and Twit­ter.

Fol­low GlobalDefence.net on Face­book and/or on Twit­ter

Team GlobDef

Team GlobDef

Seit 2001 ist GlobalDefence.net im Internet unterwegs, um mit eigenen Analysen, interessanten Kooperationen und umfassenden Informationen für einen spannenden Überblick der Weltlage zu sorgen. GlobalDefenc.net war dabei die erste deutschsprachige Internetseite, die mit dem Schwerpunkt Sicherheitspolitik außerhalb von Hochschulen oder Instituten aufgetreten ist.

Alle Beiträge ansehen von Team GlobDef →