MARYSVILLE, Wash –
Two countries, 11 states, almost 50,000 miles, and over 1,000 Army Reserve Soldiers and National Guardsmen traveling in approximately 12 convoys is what Nationwide Move is all about. Army Reserve Soldiers of the 364th Expeditionary Sustainment Command and the 814th Transportation Battalion, a subordinate unit of the 364th ESC out of Boise, Idaho, put their skills to the test transporting equipment to various training sites across the North American continent to support a number of different Army and Marine units going through training rotations.
“Nationwide Move is an Army Reserve directed mission that connects and integrates real-world requirements to available transportation units. It’s a pretty simple concept, you need your equipment moved to your Annual Training exercise, and there are transportation units in the Army, so why not use them to move your equipment?” said Capt. Matthew Paulhus, Officer in Charge and planner for the Nationwide Move operation. With the 814th providing mission command of the exercise this year, 11 truck companies from the Army Reserve and National Guard were tasked with transporting equipment vital to customer units’ mission success in support of annual training events at designated locations in the U.S. and Canada. The equipment being transported fulfill mission essential task while those Soldiers, Guardsmen and Marines are at their training rotation.
“The loads include what the customer unit needs transported that is able to meet Department of Transportation highway safety requirements and height and weight requirements for the types of trucks and trailers. Common equipment includes Humvees and containers though in total, Nationwide Move truck companies have been asked to haul over 20 unique types of Army equipment this year,” said Paulhus.
The equipment these Soldiers are hauling ensures trained and ready Army Reserve, National Guard and Marine Corps units are able to participate in a number of exercises throughout the country and Canada.
“We have over 140 requests representing 13 large-scale U.S. Army Reserve and National Guard exercises, including an engaged partnership with Maple Resolve, a Canadian validation exercise for high readiness forces,” said Paulhus.
The mission for these Soldiers does not come without its challenges, but the Soldiers do not let these road bumps stop them from accomplishing their mission. They have procedures set in place to tackle a wide variety of issues they may experience along the way. These Soldiers have been preparing for the past year to be successful on their mission.
“The mission so far is going well. We did have one truck go down shortly after the first day got started, but we were prepared for breakdowns and other issues. We have our convoys set up so that every part of our convoy has two bobtails in reserve in case a truck goes down. We can remove that bobtail or tractor from that trailer and hook up the other one,” said Staff Sgt. Gideon J. Cooper, a platoon sergeant with the 376th Transportation Company out of Missoula, Montana. In addition to towing vehicles that have broken down, Army Reserve Soldiers are also prepared with maintenance crews that can repair vehicles within a certain parameter. Once a vehicle has broken down, their teams get to work to determine the best course of action for that specific breakdown.
“From there our maintenance crew has 30 minutes to figure out what the problem is and 30 minutes to hook up to another truck and tow that vehicle out of there. This way we can stay on time and mitigate risks on the side of the highway enroute to our next destination,” said Cooper.
Because these Soldiers are on the road for so long, a rest and sleep schedule is set in place to ensure Soldiers are getting adequate rest before driving for 300 to 350 miles a day. One of the ways the leadership ensures they get the rest they need is by setting up rest overnight site or RON sites.
“A lot of our movements would normally consist of people sleeping in trucks or staying in hotels, but because of the type of operation we’re running and to save on costs, we have basically set up to stop in Army bases as well as Air Force bases where we would stay the night. All the facilities have showers and restrooms for the Soldiers to use,” said Cooper.
Soldiers leave ahead of the convoy to set up RON sites along the designated route allowing drivers to rest. Not only does the Army save money by using current Assets, but it also give Soldiers an opportunity to refine their skills and get hands-on experience with their equipment.
“It’s a really good experience for these drivers, because open road driving or line haul units are few and far between in the Army, and the Soldiers don’t get enough time driving on the highways so this a great opportunity for Soldiers to garner some real world experience and skills that they may be able to use in the civilian side,” said Cooper.
Nationwide Move is not done yet, with countless miles ahead of them, these transportation Soldiers will have to drive on until the mission is accomplished.
“This is a logistic unit’s dream, this is one of the best missions I’ve seen where we’ve been able to provide truck transports … it’s not your typical two or three weeks out of the year,” said Lt. Col. David Landon, Commander of the 814th Transportation Battalion, 652nd Regional Support Group, 364th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary).