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597th Transportation Brigade
597th Transportation Group (Terminal)

The 597th Transportation Brigade, a subordinate element of the US Army's Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command, is focused on the US Northern Command (NORTHCOM) and US Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) areas of responsibility. With a workforce of more than 300 military and civilian personnel as of 2012, the 597th Transportation Brigade and its subordinate units are responsible for meeting the surface deployment, redeployment and distribution needs of the Warfighter and Defense Transportation System customers in the United States and Latin America.

The 597th Transportation Brigade is located at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia, and has 4 subordinate battalions located throughout the United States. The Brigade's subordinate battalions include the 832nd Transportation Battalion, located in Jacksonville, Florida; the 833rd Transportation Battalion, located in Seattle, Washington; the 841st Transportation Battalion, located in Charleston, South Carolina; and the 842nd Transportation Battalion, located in Beaumont, Texas.

The Brigade's Deployment Distribution Support Teams (DDST) support strategic surface deployments within the continental United States. These teams, consisting of surface deployment transportation experts, directly assist the Warfighter, installation transportation officers, division transportation officers, mobility warrant officers, and unit movement officers with hazardous materials, equipment, container and unit movement data preparation and documentation. They provide a smooth, efficient and synchronized move from the installation to the port of embarkation, a valuable conduit between the installation, the 597th Transportation Brigade, and SDDC.

The 597th Transportation Brigade also provides surface deployment and distribution support to SOUTHCOM and NORTHCOM. In support of Defense Support of Civil Authority and the Department of Homeland Defense, the 597th Transportation Brigade provides surface expertise to North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and NORTHCOM by focusing on the synchronization and integration of logistical efforts involved with executing NORTHCOM missions. The Brigade provides intransit visibility support through transportation systems interfacing with the Department of Transportation in support of NORTHCOM exercises. The 597th Transportation Brigade operates in terminals and facilities throughout Latin America, South America and the Caribbean in support of New Horizon and SOUTHCOM humanitarian and disaster relief missions.

In 1997, as part of the transformation of the Military Traffic Management and Terminal Service (MTMTS) to the Military Traffic Management Command (MTMC), the command's subordinate units were reflagged. This led to the formation of the 597th Transportation Group (Terminal). By the late 1990s, the mission of the 597th Transportation Group (Terminal) 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 Group planned, coordinated, and accomplished the expeditious and economical movement and documentation of ammunition, other dangerous cargo, Department of Defense sponsored cargo, and prepositioning cargo through the Military Ocean Terminal, Sunny Point (MOTSU), North Carolina, and Department of Defense sponsored cargo through terminals and facilities in Wilmington and Morehead City, North Carolina. The Group would deploy/redeploy US forces as assigned by Commander, MTMC Deployment Support Command (DSC) and advise and assist wartraced US Army Reserve units as assigned by Commander, MTMC DSC. The Group participated in Joint Chiefs of Staff exercises and was prepared to deploy military personnel and Emergency-Essential Civilians outside of the contintental United States. The Group provided operational control for MOTSU.

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. The 597th Transportation Group (Terminal) experienced significant changes as part of the transformation. With the inactivation of the DSC, and the reactivation of that unit was a component of the US Army Reserve, the 597th Transportation Group reassigned directly to MTMC. The 597th Transportation Group also became responsible for all MTMC battalions in the continental United States. As part of major changes to the MTMC (which became the SDDC in 2004), and additional changes Army-wide as part of Base Realignment and Closing Commission (BRAC) recommendations, the 597th Transportation Group was also relocated to Fort Eustis, Virginia in 2005. The unit subsequently was redesignated the 597th Transportation Brigade.

In 2009, the 597th Transportation Brigade assumed command and control of the 688th, 689th and 690th Transportation Detachments (Rapid Port Opening Element). The RPOEs performed US Transportation Command's (TRANSCOM) mission to deploy quickly in a crisis or contingency operation to ready the Air Port of Debarkation or Sea Port of Debarkation for follow-on personnel and equipment as part of TRANSCOM's Joint Task Force - Port Opening. The Brigade's RPOE personnel were trained and ready to deploy within 12 hours of notification from TRANSCOM, and participated in joint training exercises with Air Force contingency response groups and Navy expeditionary port units.

During 2011, the Brigade's DDSTs provided support for 14 brigade combat team moves and the Brigade's battalions provided support to include in-transit visibility for more than 225,000 shipments and more than 105 million pieces of import and export cargo flowing through CONUS ports. In 2011, the Brigade ensured the NORTHCOM Deployment and Distribution Operations Center J4, Mobility Division, was supported during Exercise Ardent Sentry, Exercise Vigilant Shield, NORTHCOM Forces Flow, NORTHCOM ROC Drill, and Logistics Conference. The Brigade's subordinate 832nd Transportation Battalion also worked directly with SOUTHCOM planning, and supported numerous New Horizon, Beyond the Horizon, and Tradewinds missions throughout the Caribbean, Central America and South Americ during 2011. In 2011, the Brigade's battalions traveled to ports in Panama, Honduras, El Salvador, Dominican Republic, Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, Guatemala and Peru, handling more than 1,400 pieces of general cargo. In 2011, the RPOEs participated in 3 aerial port of debarkation Eagle Flag exercises at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey; one Joint Operational Access Exercise at Joint Base Bragg-Pope, North Carolina; and 4 sea port of debarkation exercises, one in Norfolk, Virginia; one in Cape Canaveral, Florida.; one in Morocco; and one in Thailand.

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