News Search

Army Reserve Soldiers use civilian skills to support Military Surface Deployment & Distribution Command mission

By Johnathon Orrell | Military Surface Deployment & Distribution Command | Jan. 29, 2019

PORT OF ANTWERP, Belgium — Soldiers from the 461st Expeditionary Terminal Operating Element (ETOE) recently supported surge requirements at the Port of Antwerp, Belgium in support of Atlantic Resolve. These U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers from the Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command's (SDDC) Deployment Support Command (DSC) bring a unique layer of experience and capabilities that can be rapidly integrated into operations.

"We stand in as an element that exists within the active duty world during port operations," said Capt. Stephen Yarbrough, 461st team chief.

Deployed from McAllen, Texas, the 461st ETOE is supporting SDDC's 598th Transportation Brigade by performing tracking functions for downloading and staging equipment from ships during the European deployment of the 1st Infantry Division's 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team (1ID/1ABCT).

"We bridge the gap with the computer systems we operate, whether it's for manifesting the ships or developing staging plans on the ship, so that we can expedite the download of equipment to the staging yard in preparation for onward movement," said Yarbrough.

Reservists play a critical role in building SDDC's total force capacity and capability around the globe by applying their civilian job experience to their work in the Army.

Master Sgt. Manuel Gilliam, the 461st ETOE's senior transportation supervisor, is a prime example of someone who applies his civilian skills and experiences to his work with SDDC.

"I am a civilian truck driver and I am also a motor transport operator in the Army," he said. "I am able to tap into my civilian expertise and bring that to SDDC when making stow plans - layouts of how equipment is stored in a staging area or on a ship - and I can look at them and know how the equipment drives and how it's configured."

Sgt. 1st. Class Esperanza Chavez, 461st transportation management coordinator, also make outstanding use of her civilian experience to better SDDC's mission.

In her civilian role as a government service employee, Chavez is an administrator with the 369th ETOE based out of Houston, Texas. She says her day-to-day job ties directly into the skills needed to coordinate the movement of equipment from the ship to the staging yard for onward movements. 

"Both jobs take organization, lots of organization," she said. "When I am operating at the tally station, I have to make sure my skills keep the flow of traffic going. If there is an issue at the tally station, the whole process comes to a halt."

Chavez says the reason she serves her nation as an Army Reserve Soldier is to give back to others that which she has received all her life -- freedom.
"My whole life I have been supported by this country and its military, for which I am grateful," she said. "Serving my country is my way of giving back."

The DSC, with over 2,500 Reserve Soldiers, is ready to answer the call. And SDDC relies on its DSC reservists to successfully integrate and synchronize surface deployment and distribution capabilities to deliver and sustain the armed forces around the globe.