July 28, 2016 –
“Sound logistics forms the foundation for the development of strategic flexibility and mobility. If such flexibility is to be exercised and exploited, military command must have adequate control of its logistic support.”
-- RADM Henry E. Eccles, Logistics in the National Defense (1959)
TRANS WARRIOR, a U.S. Army Reserve warrior exercise, provides Army Reserve Transportation Corps Soldiers with the 1190th Transportation Brigade, Baton Rouge, La., with critical capabilities in mission planning, coordination and control of Army Reserve deployable Expeditionary Port Terminal Operations.
"This exercise is to ensure we [Army Reserve] have the capabilities to provide the strategic deployment capabilities necessary to supply the warfighter,” said Col. Michael Beane, the operations officer for the Deployment Support Command, an active duty component, headquartered in Birmingham, Ala. He adds that the exercise provides the Army Service Component Command of the U.S. Transportation Command with an objective idea on how to shape [better prepare, train or equip] future deployments.
Beane represents the Deployment Support Command, Birmingham, Ala. His mission is to provide oversight and guidance to leadership of the 1190th. His oversight position entails providing personnel, funding support, and evaluation of the exercise.
In order for the Soldiers participating in TRANS WARRIOR to have a successful exercise, the members of the 1190th must master critical collective and individual Mission Essential Tasks in a realistic training environment. The Soldiers are assessed as individuals and teams in order to identify strengths and weaknesses. Further, subject matter experts from the DSC are on hand to mentor and train in order to help improve unit operational readiness. However, it takes more than logistical support and funding to make the TRANS WARRIOR mission a success.
Col. Kenneth Fetzer, Commanding Officer of the 1190th, and Command Sergeant Major, Herlon Stephens, Senior Enlisted Advisor of the 1190th, the TRANS WARRIOR ground command team, consider an exercise of this caliber requires successful application of senior and junior leadership, the mastering of skills necessary to perform the mission, and meeting unit and individual readiness levels.
Beane and Fetzer stress that leadership is critical at all levels to ensure the unit and Soldiers become highly proficient with assigned technical and METL training focused on automated vessel logistic load planning, movement and support.
Before individuals Soldiers are evaluated on their technical skills, leadership teams from the brigade and subordinate battalions of the Deployment Support Command receive training on the fundamentals and principles of mission command. Once the leadership masters the principles of mission command, the command prepares the groundwork for exercise success by creating task specific teams called Terminal Management Teams. The TMTs conduct terminal operations that are designed to support a mission deployment, reception, and the forward movement of an operational force.
“Moving cargo and supplies from the distribution point to where it is needed for the war fighter,” Beane said. He stressed the exercise is real-world training and that today’s Army Reserve mobility units are directly in support of expeditionary operations globally.
To conduct global expeditionary operations and supply the warfighter port facilities can be established at any existing port, beach, or even degraded and unimproved facilities.
In addition to establishing port facilities, Beane adds that operations across the globe require a third of the subordinate units of the DSC remain prepared to deploy, either as a large organization or as individuals.
In order to assess if the subordinate units of the DSC are prepared to meet their deployment missions, the unit and Soldiers undergo five METL specific lanes evaluating; Mission Command, Deployment/Redeployment, Container Management, Cargo Documentation and Port Management.
The lanes training progressive METL task proficiency focuses on mission critical technical skills. Some of them are; ICODES, A Ship Load-Planning System; TC AIMS, for Movement Systems, used by every Army unit to plan and execute unit movements for deployment and redeployment operations; GATES, a single port management system for aerial and surface port operations, contracts, Host Nation support, and more.
METL skills necessary to manage port facilities not only include Army but joint force, host nation and civilian contractor interaction.
“We [Army Reserve] regularly integrate and assist multi-component forces and civilian contractors,” Fetzer said.
“Additionally, one of our missions is supervising civilian contract labor to do movement,” Fetzer said. He adds that deployed mobility Soldiers will interact with contracts as written, civilians, and U.S. and Host Nation contractors in a deployed setting.
For the TRANS WARRIOR exercise, the deployment setting is based on a SEDRE. A SEDRE is the sea emergency deployment readiness exercise, a scenario driven and stressful environment.
Whether in a secured facility or unimproved facility, the exercise requires the 1190th to successfully execute collective port lane evaluations at a real military port utilizing multiple military and contracted vessels in a Department of Defense military port, and receive a detailed After Action Review.
A detailed AAR allows leadership and Soldiers the opportunity in a peacetime training environment to identify lessons learned and applying them.
In addition to exercise focused training, the TRANS WARRIOR exercise also provides Soldiers a collective opportunity to focus on unit and individual readiness.
Stephens focus is on mission and also individual Soldier readiness, he highlights that Soldiers scheduled LHI appointments and attended them.
“Functional, technical and tactical, the exercise has been running for more than three years, and they [participating Soldiers] continue to build on the foundation we started with,” Stephens said.
One major hurdle that leadership is required to overcome is a lack of resources to train outside of a TRANS WARRIOR type exercise. Beane warned that he believes present budget cuts are affecting readiness and modernization.
Though the Army Reserve Soldiers of the DSC may lack optimal funding resources or the ideal training opportunities commander’s desire, Fetzer points out that what the Soldiers lack in resources, they make up in individual diversity.
“I think we take advantage of the diversity of the Reserve component,” Fetzer said.
Fetzer speaks positively about the Soldiers in the exercise and the capabilities Reserve Soldiers bring to the unit and the exercise by utilizing their civilian acquired skills to enhance their Army Reserve skills.
He adds, Army Reserve Soldiers often have extensive real-world experience gained in their civilian occupations; from law enforcement, pipe-line maintenance, terminal operations, and human resources, to critical HAZ MAT certifications and even foreign language skills, various degrees and more.
“We share in their benefits [job skills], and they share in Army leadership skills,” Fetzer said.“It’s a win-win.”
“Soldiers love it, when they get to do real world missions,” Fetzer said.
The TRANS WARRIOR exercise allows Soldiers and all participating units under the DSC to come together and focus on; mission command, METL skills and readiness. The exercise also provides realistic training in a collective environment and allows Soldiers to master the capability to conduct Expeditionary Port Terminal Operations globally.