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NEWS | Aug. 2, 2017

Army Reserve Soldiers Unload Valuable Experience at Trans Mariner 17

By Spc. Jeremiah Woods

U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers with the 1182nd Deployment and Distribution Support Battalion (DDSB) and the 302nd Inland Cargo Transfer Company (ICTC) convened at Military Ocean Terminal Sunny Point, North Carolina, one of the largest military terminals in the world, in support of Operation Trans Mariner 17 for two weeks during July, 2017.

During this operation, Army Reserve Soldiers from the Army Transportation Corps downloaded, organized, inspected, uploaded and shipped thousands of containers delivered by cargo vessels. The mission allowed Soldiers to refine their logistical skills, as well as giving them the opportunity to participate in a real-world mission.

“People call this annual training but this is a mission to us,” said Army Maj. Daniel Powell, commander of the 1182nd DDSB. “This is a real mission and we treat it as such. Our Soldiers are stretched. They bend but they don’t break. We're prepared to be Soldiers.”

The cargo was downloaded from shipping vessels onto MH-878 trucks and delivered to the receiving site, where it was removed by Mi-Jack Railstackers and staged throughout the installation for inspection. Once the containers were inspected, they were loaded back onto trucks and transported to their final destinations across the United States and around the world.

“We have multiple units from different locations throughout the country participating in this one major event on the East Coast, which is a real-world mission,” said Army Reserve 2nd Lt. Kristian Marquez, part of the 1182nd DDSB, working in the Tactical Operations Center for Operation Trans-Mariner 17. “We are currently uploading, staging and moving containers throughout the country so that we have things prepared for immediate response.”

Marquez illustrated that one of the most important aspects of this mission is the opportunity these Reserve units have to learn to work together as a team.

“We’re learning a lot about ourselves and how each section of our unit operates, how to form a better cohesive standing operating procedure, and how to better employ our Soldiers and our downtrace units to succeed down the road,” said Marquez. “It doesn’t matter where they come from or how much we train or not train together on a yearly basis, but all the units were able to come in on day one and operate as if they’ve been doing this in the past year together.”

Army Reserve Spc. Hildrew McNair, a cargo specialist with the 302nd ICTC was able to recognize the importance of this factor. The small puzzle pieces are components that you have on your team and the big puzzle piece is cohesiveness, said McNair. “For our unit it means that we can send a small number of us out and they can accomplish something so large and so effective for the actual Army,” said McNair.

For McNair and other Soldiers participating in the mission, it meant coming together to accomplish the mission, including the opportunity to work with Army National Guard motor transport operators, who were tasked with operating the shipping vehicles that would bring the cargo to its final destination.

The most important aspect of Operation Trans-Mariner 17 is the factor that it is more than simple training for the Soldiers participating; it is a real-world mission that transports supplies out to bases across the world. The success of this operation will benefit individual Soldiers across the globe and the army as a whole.

“A large piece of the Army is moving cargo, and I have to feel honored to be a part of that,” said McNair.

“We need more training like this,” said Powell. “Protecting our Soldiers, protecting our way of life; whether it’s at my level, or that grunt in the field, is the most important thing. We’re all one team and one fight.”

With a successful completion of Operation Trans Mariner, the Army Reserve is better-trained and better-prepared for the next mission down the road to awesome.