WAINWRIGHT, Canada –
Soldiers from the 250th Transportation Company out of South El Monte, California, took part in the second leg of Exercise Nationwide Move from May 1 to June 4, 2018, transporting needed equipment from California to Wainwright, Canada, in support of Maple Resolve 2018.
Nationwide Move, an exercise that provides Army Reserve transportation units realistic training as they perform real-world hauls, is an efficient way to provide training while getting much-needed equipment to training sites. Moving equipment to Maple Resolve, a multi-national exercise which ran from May 14-24, 2018, provided the unique opportunity for the Reserve Soldiers to perform their mission across national borders.
The 20-vehicle front haul from the Los Angeles area to Canada took six days, averaging eight hours a day of driving.
“This is what we want to do,” said 1st Lt. John Villagrana of the 250th TC. “These line missions, these long-haul trips. This is why we signed up for this job.”
Villagrana explained that long-distance driving is his unit’s specialty, and Nationwide Move provided an opportunity to gain further experience.
The 250th TC, a downtrace unit of the 311th Expeditionary Sustainment Command, which falls under the 79th Theater Sustainment Command, ensured vehicle maintenance was to standard and rest stops were planned accordingly before embarking on the trip.
One of the highlights of the mission for the unit was crossing over the U.S.-Canadian border where the unit was received by a team of Canadian Armed Forces liaisons who escorted the convoy from the border to the training site.
“Twenty vehicles driving from Southern California to Canada with no incidents—it’s pretty impressive,” said Capt. Adrian Silva, 250th convoy commander, referring to the front haul. “It’s just a testament to the Soldiers’ skills and how outstanding they are.”
The 250th hauled military tactical vehicles and other equipment needed for Maple Resolve, and ensuring the loads were properly balanced was key to mission success.
“It’s about getting the proper training for our Reserve Soldiers and the equipment being exercised,” said Chief Warrant Officer Ricardo Villanueva of the 79th TSC, officer in charge of Nationwide Move.
Without Nationwide Move, the Army would rely solely on commercial contracting to move the equipment needed, Villanueva explained.
“Success is determined by getting the equipment exercised and the feeling that the Soldiers have accomplished something,” he continued.
The mission was particularly helpful in developing the skillsets of the motor transport operators.
“We’re drivers,” said Spc. Diva Chan with the 250th TC. “The more that you drive the more confidence and experience you’ll be acquiring.”
Behind the scenes, Villanueva and Maj. Kelly Hillyer of the 451st Expeditionary Sustainment Command worked together to identify opportunities and monitor the operations for Nationwide Move. While Villanueva identified and coordinated units capable of providing support, Hillyer worked in the 24-hour operations center that monitored movement of the units.
“It’s important that these trucking companies get out on the road,” said Hillyer. "The question we need to ask ourselves is are these trucking companies really being exercised, are they getting a chance to stretch their legs?”
Hillyer concluded that this exercise is a great way to get line haul units operationally ready, as Nationwide Move provides a chance to make longer-distance drives than usual.