598th Transportation Terminal Group
The 598th Transportation Terminal Group is responsible for port operations and the onward movement of cargo in Europe, Africa, and southwest Asia. The 598th Transportation Group is headquartered at Rotterdam. The 598th Transportation Terminal Group (TTG) mission includes the receipt, handling, documentation and port clearance of all Department of Defense (DoD) sponsored cargo transiting Benelux ports. During the past few years, the workload has exceeded 4 million measured tons per year. The 838th Transportation Batallion (TB) is a subordinate element of 598th. The 838 TB is responsible for managing DoD sponsored cargo transiting all ports within the Benelux countries. The Rotterdam Movement Control Team (MCT-Rotterdam) is an element of the 27th Transportation Battalion, which is subordinate to the 21st Theater Army Area Command (TAACOM). The MCT determines the mode of onward movement for all DoD sponsored cargo entering the ports within the Benelux.
The 598th is headquarters for the battalions that conduct port operations throughout Europe, Africa and Southwest Asia - among them the 838th Trans. Bn. in Rotterdam and the 839th Trans. Bn. in Livorno. Colocated with the headquarters are the 838th Trans. Bn. and the 39th Trans. Bn. Movement Control Team, an element of the 1st Trans. Movement Control Agency, which is responsible for inland movements to and from ports by military or commercial means; and Military Sealift Command Office, Northern Europe, which coordinates ship movements for deploying and redeploying units. The latter ensures that ships meet requirements for holding capacity, distance and speed. Representatives from the Coast Guard, who travel throughout Europe, Africa and Southwest Asia to inspect the ships, have an office at the Rotterdam site, too, as does the Air Force, whose Water Port Liaison Office looks out for Air Force interests.
Some 300 people are part of the 598th and its subordinate Army units. Among them are 85 soldiers, sailors and airmen, and more than 50 Department of the Army civilians. The rest are local nationals.
US Army Military Traffic Management Command soldiers have been stationed in the Dutch port city of Rotterdam for more than 30 years. Veteran soldiers and longtime civilian employees of the current 598th Transportation Group's predecessor, the BENELUX Terminal, remember the frantic days of REFORGERs [Return of Forces to Germany], when ships delivered tons of supplies and thousands of tanks, helicopters and other vehicles destined for hordes of troops arriving in Europe from the United States.
Today, demands on the Rotterdam-based unit may be less frantic. There are no such major exercises that call for massive movement of materiel at once. But today, numerous contingencies throughout Europe keep the unit on its toes. There are many unit movements - deployments and redeployments - outsiders don't readily see. Additionally, the group moves supplies to the 100,000 troops assigned throughout Europe, keeping troop dining facilities, commissaries and post exchanges stocked.
After some 90 days of sustained aerial bombing, the Serbs agreed to evacuate Kosovo and the air war came to an end. The need to move a peacekeeping force into Kosovo propelled MTMC and its maritime partner, the Navy's Military Sealift Command, into action. Responsibility for executing the movement rested with the 598th Transportation Group. It was decided that the 1st Infantry Division and other task force elements would move by rail and road to Bremerhaven, Germany. Once at that port, the heavy equipment would be loaded by the 838th Transportation Battalion, headquartered in Rotterdam. Two ships would be needed for the move from Bremerhaven to Thessaloniki.
Operating components of the Military Traffic Management Command's 598th Transportation Terminal Group, and the Military Sealift Command, Europe, were on-site at Bremerhaven, overseeing the onload of equipment aboard two large Navy cargo ships. MTMC's 838th Transportation Terminal Battalion and the 950th Transportation Terminal Company loaded the U.S. Naval ships Bob Hope and Soderman. The ships transported thousands of wheeled and tracked vehicles, including M1A1 Abrams tanks, Bradley fighting vehicles, howitzers, armored combat engineer vehicles, heavy moving equipment, and various supplies.
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