USA — Transcom to Receive ‘Unsung Hero’ Recognition

WASHINGTON — The U.S. mil­i­tary com­mand respon­si­ble for mov­ing troops and car­go around the world will receive recog­ni­tion for its role as one of the Defense Department’s unsung heroes, Pen­ta­gon Press Sec­re­tary Geoff Mor­rell said today.
Defense Sec­re­tary Robert M. Gates is slat­ed to trav­el to U.S. Trans­porta­tion Com­mand head­quar­ters at Scott Air Force Base, Ill., on April 1 to bestow the Joint Mer­i­to­ri­ous Unit Award.

“Sec­re­tary Gates believes the mem­bers of Transcom are among the unsung heroes of our mil­i­tary efforts around the world, and this award allows him to per­son­al­ly thank this ded­i­cat­ed and unher­ald­ed team of pro­fes­sion­als,” Mor­rell told Pen­ta­gon reporters today.

The depart­ment award hon­ors orga­ni­za­tions that demon­strate out­stand­ing sup­port of the nation’s men and women in uni­form, Mor­rell said.

Over the last three years, Transcom has moved more than 5 bil­lion gal­lons of fuel, 8.5 mil­lion short tons of car­go and 5 mil­lion pas­sen­gers, Mor­rell said, not­ing that “these num­bers only tell part of the sto­ry.”

“With­out their tire­less work,” he said, “our mis­sions in Iraq, Afghanistan, and indeed around the world, would even­tu­al­ly grind to a halt.”

A cen­ter­piece of Gates’ agen­da as defense sec­re­tary has been to field mine-resis­tant, ambush-pro­tect­ed vehi­cles, or MRAPs, to troops in Iraq, and small­er ver­sions to ser­vice­mem­bers in Afghanistan as quick­ly as pos­si­ble. The vehi­cles, which fea­ture a V‑shaped hull that deflects the impact of road­side bombs, has been cred­it­ed with sav­ing lives and limbs since being adopt­ed down­range.

“Transcom has respond­ed superbly to this urgent require­ment and, since late 2007, has deliv­ered rough­ly 450 vehi­cles per month,” Mor­rell said.

Beyond the bat­tle­field, Transcom also played an instru­men­tal role in U.S. relief efforts in Haiti fol­low­ing the dev­as­tat­ing earth­quake there last month.

“In respond­ing to the cat­a­stroph­ic earth­quake in Haiti,” Mor­rell said, “Transcom has pro­vid­ed over 2 mil­lion meals, more than 5 mil­lion liters of water to the island, in ongo­ing human­i­tar­i­an and dis­as­ter-relief oper­a­tions.”

Join­ing Gates at the award cer­e­mo­ny will be Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, com­man­der of U.S. Cen­tral Com­mand, who over­sees oper­a­tions in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Transcom, which was estab­lished in 1987, has trans­port­ed tens of thou­sands of sick or injured troops out of the cur­rent con­flicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Due in large part to the command’s effi­cien­cy, defense offi­cials have said, a med­ical evac­u­a­tion back to the Unit­ed States takes only a frac­tion of the amount of time it took in Viet­nam.

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