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    Joint Partnerships: MSC Joins Forces for Exercise Turbo Distribution

    Joint Partnerships:  MSC Joins Forces for Exercise Turbo Distribution

    Photo By LaShawn Sykes | CHARLESTON, S.C. (May 25, 2022) Army units from Military Surface Deployment and...... read more read more



    Story by LaShawn Sykes 

    USN Military Sealift Command

    Joint partnerships are exciting. They increase shared vision, align business objectives, and create effective governance. Joint partnerships can help us all and connect us all. What’s the old saying, “Two heads are better than one”? That’s true. Because when two or more heads come together, they are more likely to reach the right decision quicker than one head would working alone. And when multiple heads partner together, it exponentially speeds up the way in which a product or service is distributed because each partner, along with all of its resources, is on hand to share the load, bringing the best of their talents and strengths forward.

    Recently, Army units from Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command (SDDC) and Navy units from Military Sealift Command (MSC) and Navy Cargo Handling Battalion One (NCHB-1) came together to train in U.S. Transportation Command’s Field Training Exercise (FTX) Turbo Distribution 22-4 (TD 22-4). USTRANSCOM’s TD 22-4, exercising Joint Task Force - Port Opening, Seaport of Debarkation (JTF-PO SPOD), provided a joint expeditionary capability to rapidly establish and initially operate and clear a port of debarkation and conduct cargo handling, facilitating port throughput in support of combatant commander executed contingencies.

    The exercise’s architects, USTRANSCOM-J37 planners, designed TD 22-4 to overlap the real-world maintenance cycle of Army Prepositioned Stock (APS), stowed in MSC’s Large, Medium Speed Roll-on/Roll-off ship USNS Pomeroy (T-AKR-316) to provide the training audience with real-world military cargo and maximize training value. The exercise training audience consisted of SDDC’s 832nd Transportation Battalion, 597th Transportation Brigade, 690th Rapid Port Opening Element, and contracted stevedores, MSC’s Expeditionary Port Units (EPUs 109, 110, and 113), Navy’s Cargo Handling Battalion One (NCHB-1), and Army Materiel Command’s (AMC)-contracted longshoremen, according to Austin Emery of USTRANSCOM’s Joint Directorate of Operations and Logistics.

    The Turbo Distribution Exercise program allows us to train the way we fight, and we fight to win, said U.S. Army Lt. Col. David Walters from SDDC’s 832nd Transportation Battalion, 597th Transportation Brigade. “USTRANSCOM relies on our training and expertise to prepare us to rapidly respond to real-world threats when called upon to provide that overseas combatant commander with timely logistical support to the battlefield. Joint partnerships such as this one allows us to come together with ease in order to efficiently and effectively meet the needs of the warfighter.”

    Exercise Turbo Distribution 22-4 was a contingency scenario-driven exercise designed to merge components of USTRANSCOM, working side-by-side, in a port operations environment. “No war or contingency can succeed without a joint military effort. The exchange of knowledge, skills, and service-based policies is invaluable in building decisive joint policies for an integrated response in the event of a national or global crisis,” said EPU 113 CDR Kate Gilpin.

    The exercise was broken into two phases, according to Marine Transportation Specialist John McAninley from MSC’s Detachment Office in Charleston. In Phase One, the insertion SPOD Joint Assessment Team (JAT) was tasked with rapidly assessing an outside contiguous United States (OCONUS) seaport (aka Wharf Alpha at Joint Base Charleston) for a contingency operation, with follow-on port-opening, discharge, and distribution operations conducted in Phase Two.

    After JTF-PO’s distribution network was assessed and established in Phase One, USNS Pomeroy took center stage, providing the model platform for the various partners to come together and work. “As a USTRANSCOM component, it is vital for MSC to be able to provide a prompt response in case of emergent requirements, through its sealift capability and port coordination. As evidenced by this exercise, no one service can accomplish the requirements needed for cargo movement and integration to the combatant commander overseas. It is a joint effort between services and commands (USTRANSCOM, SDDC, MSC, and NCHB) that requires all in order to ensure mission success,” said MSC Exercises Branch Chief Linda Shepard.

    Phase Two was comprised of the JTF-PO commander (832nd Transportation Battalion, 597th Transportation Brigade), the deputy commander (MSC EPU’s commanding officer), and supporting personnel from SDDC’s 597th BDE and 690th RPOE, a mix of personnel from MSC’s EPUs 109, 110, and 113, and NCHB-1. NCHB-1 executed all Load-on/Load-off (LO/LO) crane operations and SDDC-contracted stevedores executed all Roll-on/Roll-off (RO/RO) discharge operations. MSC EPUs provided full support to the vessel and its crew while acting as a liaison between the ship and JTF-PO partnership for timely discharge operations, Shepard said. “Synchronization between NCHB-1 and AMC’s longshoremen was essential for a seamless offload of cargo. MSC EPUs were on hand to monitor and coordinate with the ship for any damages during cargo operations and to support effective communication and coordination with other port representatives.” Together, working as one, the team worked tirelessly during the 13-plus hour workdays to meet the ship’s deadline of unloading 161 containers and 1,080 Roll-on/Roll-off vehicles, totaling 1,249 pieces of cargo, weighing 12,827 tons, McAninley said. “This was no small feat. It required the expertise and experience of all the partners leaning forward to successfully and safely complete the cargo exercise.” Both representatives of MSC’s Charleston office, John McAninley and John Woods, provided continuous consultation and guidance to MSC’s EPUs for responsive vessel support, reporting requirements, and effective training.

    Throughout the discharge operations, safety remained a critical component of the exercise and USTRANSCOM’s top priority. Seven Navy medical corpsman provided medical support during the exercise - four from NCHB-1 and three from MSC. Two HMs were consistently postured near crane operations. A sick call tent was set up in the Life Support Area (LSA), annotated with a red cross. Working in scorching hot temperatures in the upper 80’s, the joint medical team provided rotations every hour on the hour to check on personnel for possible heat exhaustion and heat stroke. “Through corpsmen’s coordination with training audience leadership, additional canopies were setup in the marshalling monitor areas, and regular water and ice deliveries were made to better protect personnel. HM1 Kerry Huston, a full-time paramedic when he is not supporting the Navy, was also instrumental in setting up a red-cross marked medical shuttle for expedited medical response,” Shepard said.

    Discharge operations ended May 26, with 100% of cargo offloaded from the vessel. Partial redeployment of the TD 22-4 training audience commenced the same day, with MSC’s EPU personnel authorized redeployment on May 27th. Although the offload mission was complete, there was still work to be done in support of USNS Pomeroy. Many of the EPU personnel provided operational support following the exercise by finalizing damage reports, providing support to the vessel’s master and crew, and even providing manpower to hoist and secure the gangway before the vessel’s departure on May 29.

    “Exercise Turbo Distribution 22-4 did more than increase readiness for JTF-PO SPOD, and did more than simply provide a joint training opportunity for component partners, it connected Soldiers and Sailors across the joint force to better prepare them to unite in meeting tomorrow’s challenges in support of the warfighters,” said Emery. Building a more integrated and lethal force is one of three lines of effort central to the National Defense Strategy.



    Date Taken: 06.14.2022
    Date Posted: 06.14.2022 09:57
    Story ID: 422893

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