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297th Transportation Company (Cargo Transfer)

The 297th Transportation Company (Cargo Transfer) provides Transship Terminal Support. Its mission is to, on Order deploys, provide Transship Terminal Support as directed in support of worldwide contingencies, and redeploy.

The 297th Transportation Company was first constituted on 18 September 1944 in the Army of the United States as the 378th Transportation Corps Service Company and activatedon 25 November 1944 at Camp Gordon Johnston, Florida. It was redesignated on 1 December 1944 as the 378th Transportation Corps Harbor Craft Company and disbanded on 1 June 1945 in the Philippine Islands near the end of the Second World War.

The Company was reconstituted on 24 December 1947 in the Organized Reserves as the 297th Transportation Port Company and activated on 14 January 1948 at Boston, Massachusetts. The Organized Reserves as a whole were redesignated on 25 March 1948 as the Organized Reserve Corps and again on 9 July 1952 as the Army Reserve. The Company remained assigned to this entity during the changes. It was inactivated on 22 June 1949 at Boston, Massachusetts.

The unit was reactivated on 15 April 1952 at Boston, Massachusetts. It was redesignated on 25 September 1953 as the 297th Transportation Company. It was again inactivated on 30 June 1959 at Boston, Massachusetts.

The unit was withdrawn on 1 June 1966 from the Army Reserve and allotted to the Regular Army. It was concurrently activated at Fort Lewis, Washington. It was subsequently deployed to Vietnam, where it participated in 13 campaigns of the conflict there: Counteroffensive Phase II, Counteroffensive Phase III, Tet Counteroffensive, Counteroffensive Phase IV, Counteroffensive Phase V, Counteroffensive Phase VI, Tet 69/Counteroffensive, Summer-Fall 1969, Winter-Spring 1970, Sanctuary Counteroffensive, Counteroffensive Phase VII, Consolidation I, and Consolidation II. The Company was inactivated on 20 March 1972 in Vietnam.

The Company was reactivated no 16 April 2000 at Fort Hood, Texas. The Company had begun its activation process on 16 October 1999, and was assigned to the 64th Corps Support Group. In less than 2 years the 297th went from operating with less than 100 soldiers and no equipment to becoming a major asset to units deploying throughout Fort Hood. In that time it had grown to almost 5 times its original size and participated in several major training exercises. However, as the first and only cargo transfer company on Fort Hood, the company's growth had not been without strain.

By 2000, the 297th Transportation Company was all grown up, employing 262 soldiers with an equipment inventory of more than $15 million, thus enabling the unit to carry out its mission. The mission of the 297th Transportation Company was to provided transship terminal assistance in support of worldwide contingency deployments by loading and unloading the various modes of transportation such as sea vessels, trains, airplanes and trucks. It was a difficult task at what was at the time the world's largest military installation where some of the most deployed units are stationed.

The unit's mission was to load the vehicles and equipment that belonged to the combat arms onto rail cars. The rail cars then transported the vehicles and equipment to the airport or seaport of embarkation. From there a cargo transfer company would load airplanes or sea vessels that would, in turn, take it over seas. There another cargo transfer unit would unload the ships or airplanes and if necessary reload the equipment back on to rail cars so it could be transported to where the warfighters needed it. The unit was also capable of performing its mission at fixed or "austere" ports.

Although day-to-day operations consisted mainly of supporting the Rail Operations Center, Robert Gray Army Airfield, and container movements in and around post, the 297th Transportation Company was capable of operating at 4 separate ports simultaneously, including seaports, airports, or railroad yards. The unit was capable of loading more than 200 containers per day at each site.

The 297th Transportation Company had overcome equipment and personnel shortages to participate in seven field training exercises including Phantom Lifeline 2000. The Company had helped to "push out" and receive 6 major National Training Center deployments, including taking part in the 4th Infantry Division's DCX rotation. The unit also deployed soldiers to assist in loading operations during Bright Star Exercises in Egypt.

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