834th Transportation Battalion
The mission of the 834th Transportation Battalion is to provide terminal and distribution services through strategic seaports in support of deploying and redeploying forces in the California area of responsibility. In addition, the 834th safely provides ammunition terminal services and performs installation management functions at Military Ocean Terminal Concord (MOTCO), California.
In 1995, Congress voted to accept a proposal to close the Oakland Army Base under the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process. Consequently the 1302nd Major Port Command needed to relocate, after a tenure in the same locale of over half a century. The 1302nd recommended relocation to become a tenant of the Naval Weapons Station Concord, 27 miles from the Oakland Army Base. The Department of the Army accepted this recommendation and in April 1997 formally directed relocation to Concord. The command physically moved between 24 September and 2 October 1997, during which the unit was reflagged as the 596th Transportation Group (Terminal). In place of commercial stevedores handling breakbulk cargo at the Oakland Army Base, the command entered into an agreement with the Naval Weapons Station Concord to have the Navy's civil service stevedores handle cargo. On 1 November 1997 a new arrangement began to process container cargo. Previously a contractor at the Oakland Army Base loaded (or "stuffed") freight into containers; while containers imported from overseas were unloaded (or "unstuffed") by civil servants. Under the new arrangement, a contractor in his own warehouse (in Alameda, California) stuffed and unstuffed cargo, while government personnel monitored and advised the contractor.
This operational and caretaker oversight was provided by the 596th Transportation Group's 834th Transportation Battalion. The 834th Transportation Battalion moved its operation to Concord in October 1997 as part of movement of what became the 596th Transportation Group, as a result of the 1995 Base Realignment and Closure Commission's decision to close Oakland Army Base. The unit traces its organizational lineage to the San Francisco Port of Embarkation and coordinated the movement of military cargo through Oakland Army Base since the base's establishment at the beginning of World War II. The 834th coordinated the movement of Defense Transportation System surface cargo, excluding ammunition, through Concord and 4 West Coast strategic expansion ports.
Responsibility for port operations at the former Concord Naval Weapons Station in California was transferred on 1 October 1999 from the Navy to the Army's Military Traffic Management Command (MTMC), via the 834th Transportation Battalion of the 596th Transportation Group. The overall mission of the 834th Transportation Battalion was to synchronize Defense Transportation System surface cargo movements and provide traffic management and single port management for the Department of Defense in peace and crisis. The Battalion planned, coordinated, and accomplished the expeditious and economical movement and documentation of Defense Transportation System surface cargo through terminals in Long Beach, Oakland, Port Hueneme and San Diego, California. It also provided operational and caretaker oversight of MOTCO, an ammunition trans-shipment port, which would be maintained in a reduced operational status for exercises and contingencies. The Battalion deployed/redeployed US forces and advised and assisted wartraced US Army Reserve units as assigned by Commander, MTMC DSC. It also participated in Joint Chiefs of Staff and US Transportation Command (TRANSCOM) sponsored exercises and was prepared to deploy military personnel and emergency-essential civilians outside the continental United States.
On 23 July 2001 it was announced that the Army had approved a sweeping reorganization of the Military Traffic Management Command that would make fundamental changes in the organization's structure, staffing and operations. All the changes were to be in effect by 30 June 2003. Implementation of the proposal was complete by 30 September 2001. As part of the changes, the 596th Transportation Group was inactivated on 20 September 2001. The Group's units were inactivated or reassigned. The 834th Transportation Battalion became assigned to the 597th Transportation Group (Terminal), which took over responsibility for all MTMC Battalions in the continental United States.
In 2004, the MTMC was designated as the SDDC. The Battalion subsequently became part of the Ammunition Terminal Group (Provisional). On 15 June 2008, the Ammunition Terminal Group (Provisional) at MOTSU was redesignated as the 596th Transportation Group (Ammunition) (Provisional). The provisional unit was assigned the 834th Transportation Battalion, which had remained at MOTCO. The Battalion remained assigned to the 596th Transportation Group when it was formally activated in October 2008 and when it transformed into the 596th Transportation Brigade.
By 2012, the 834th Transportation Battalion had a workforce of about 140 military personnel, government civilian employees, and contractor personnel. In addition to terminal operations, the 834th provided customs clearance for all the Department of Defense cargo coming into California seaports, and was also responsible for manifesting vessels that transported Department of Defense cargo entering and leaving the Battalion's area of responsibility. The 834th performed its general cargo missions across 4 strategic seaports in California, including Oakland, Port Hueneme, LA/Long Beach, and San Diego. During 2011, the Battalion discharged and loaded 22 vessels with more than 268,340 measurement tons of ammunition and general cargo.
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