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NEWS | June 5, 2018

Army Reserve transportation coordinators keep troops moving during Saber Strike 18

By Spc. Daisy Zimmer 221st Public Affairs Detachment

It is an unseasonably hot, muggy morning in Western Poland, and the ammunition transfer holding point at 33rd Polish Air Base is quiet, June 2. 

Headlights suddenly appear in the distance to signal the arrival of a convoy with 3rd Squadron, 2d Cavalry Regiment, and the 1172nd Movement Control Team, 446th Transportation Battalion, from Grafenwoehr, Germany, springs into action.

U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers with 1172nd MCT are augmenting 53rd Movement Control Battalion, Fort Eustice, Virginia, during U.S. Army Europe's multinational exercise Saber Strike 18 by providing three small teams across Poland to coordinate vehicle ground movements. 

Ground movement control involves coordinating incoming vehicles, counting vehicles and trailers, communicating with unit commanders to determine number of personnel, weapons and ammunition aboard each vehicle, providing transportation tracking and coordinating vehicles’ transfer to the next checkpoint. 

The 1172nd MCT is supporting active duty, Reserve, and National Guard units and will prepare 2CR for crossing the Lithuanian border next week as part of the exercise. 

“We’re running something pretty stressful, but we’re running it pretty smoothly,” said Staff Sgt. Orlando Stamps, a transportation coordinator with 1172nd MCT.

Transportation coordinators work as liaisons between the host nation and each unit to ensure all local laws are obeyed. They also send documentation for diplomatic clearances, customs and police escorts to the local National Movement Coordination Center for approval.

Additionally, the MCT must re-distribute transportation movement releases to the unit before crossing country borders. 

“For a mission like [Saber Strike 18], we work more with the host nation than we do with U.S. personnel,” said Stamps. 

However, working with host nations comes with its own challenges. 

We have run into a few barriers, said Staff Sgt. David Randolph, a transportation coordinator with the 1172nd, but we figured out how to work together to achieve the final goal.

Coordinating large vehicle volumes during Saber Strike has helped the 1172nd MCT sharpen their knowledge on movement control and increase overall unit readiness.

“Being deployed here, we can show the Army as a whole how operations go with transportation,” said Stamps. “We can show how we’re staying ready to deploy at any time and get pieces moving to their final destination.” 
The MCT's higher unit, 446th Trans BN, falls under 361st Civil Affairs Brigade, located in Kaiserslautern, Germany, which is the U.S. Army Reserve’s only forward deployed civil affairs unit in Europe providing civil affairs support to U.S. Army Europe.
Saber Strike is a long-standing U.S. Army Europe-led cooperative training exercise that helps facilitate cooperation amongst the U.S., Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and 19 other allied and partner nations.