842nd Transportation Battalion
The 842nd Transportation Battalion's primary mission is to conduct expeditionary port opening globally and surface deployment and distribution through terminals and facilities on the western Gulf Coast to meet the combatant commanders' objectives. To this end, the Battalion leads Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command's (SDDC) effort to provide the Warfighter with customer-focused deployment support around the world through its 3 strategic seaports in Texas (Beaumont, Port Arthur, and Corpus Christi) and 7 alternate seaports throughout the Gulf Region (Houston, Galveston, Lake Charles, Gulfport, Pascagoula, Mobile, and New Orleans). The majority of this effort takes place at the Port of Beaumont, one of the nation's busiest and premier seaports.
By the early 2000s, the 842nd Transportation Battalion oversaw military transportation operations in the port of New York and New Jersey, and throughout the greater Northeast United States. In addition, it was responsible for the command and control of the Sea Port of Embarkation at Howland Hook Container Terminal, Staten Island, New York, where it supported the strategic deployment/redeployment of US forces in contingency and operations other than war. The mission of the 842nd 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 Department of Defense-sponsored cargo through terminals and facilities within its assigned area of responsibility. It also accomplished the expeditious movement of household goods to contractors' facilities within its assigned area of responsibility. The Battalion 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 Battalion participated in Joint Chiefs of Staff exercises and was prepared to deploy military personnel and Emergency-Essential Civilians outside of the continental United States.
The 842nd Transportation Battalion had strong ties to the state of New Jersey, dating back to September 1965, when the Military Ocean Terminal, Bayonne (MOTBY) was established. There deploying units, equipment, and supplies headed to and returning from destinations worldwide. During Operations Desert Shield, Desert Storm, and Desert Farewell, MOTBY handled over one million measurement tons of cargo, making it the third most utilized port during the entire Gulf War. Forty vessels were loaded in support of Desert Shield, and 28 vessels were unloaded in support of Desert Farewell. More than 25,000 pieces of cargo were deployed in support of Desert Shield and Desert Farewell.
In January 1993, the 1301st Major Port Command was activated. The unit deployed the 10th Mountain Division during Operation Restore Hope in 1992, and Operation Uphold Democracy in 1994. The unit handled over 219,000 measurement tons of cargo combined for the two operations and loaded 17 vessels destined for Somalia and Port Au Prince, Haiti. In October 1997, that unit was reflagged as the 600th Transportation Group (Terminal).
In 1999, MOTBY handled the deployment of 2 engineer joint task forces to Guatemala in support of Hurricane Mitch Relief Operations, and a 2-part deployment of the 10th Mountain Division to Bosnia. During 1999, the 600th Transportation Group (Terminal) was also reflagged as the 842nd Transportation Battalion, to reflect its deminished role. The new Battalion was assigned to the 597th Transportation Group (Terminal). In 2000, the 842nd Transportation Battalion opened the port again for 10th Mountain Division's redeployment in 3 separate phases. In August 2001 the unit deployed the 29th Infantry Division in support of Operation Joint Forge.
On 23 July 2001 it had been 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. During the transformation, the 842nd Transportation Battalion remained assigned to the 597th Transportation Group (which later became the 597th Transportation Brigade). However, the Battalion was reassigned to Beaumont, Texas to take over the mission previously performed by the 596th Transportation Group (Terminal), which had been inactivated. The 956th Transportation Company, previously stationed in Alaska assigned to the 596th Transportation Group, was relocated to New Jersey to take over for the 834th Transportation Battalion.
After the beginning of the Global War on Terrorism (later known as Overseas Contingency Operations) in 2001, the Port of Beaumont moved more military cargo in support of Operations Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom, and New Dawn than any other continental US seaport. The 842nd Transportation Battalion was the gateway for the movement of military cargo through the Gulf Coast and represented the military's lifeline in supporting the Warfighter at home and abroad. During 2011, the Battalion supported the deployment and redeployment of more than 70 military vessels and 15,536 pieces of military cargo, to include the monitoring of more than 2,000 pieces of Door-to-Door cargo through the Battalion's area of responsibility.
Other 2011 highlights included, but are not limited to, the deployment and redeployment of more than 40 brigade combat teams and other battalion-size elements, and a host of other major units. In addition, Team Beaumont onward moved more than 5,000 pieces of Army Materiel Command (AMC) retrograde cargo to 8 AMC depots (Red River Army Depot, Sierra Army Depot, Rock Island Arsenal, Corpus Christi Army Depot, Anniston Army Depot, Camp Atterbury, Tobyhanna Army Depot, and Letterkenny Army Depot) using 1,819 commercial trucks and 1,495 railcars in support of the Army Force Generation reset phase. Team Beaumont's ability to onward move AMC retrograde cargo quickly to AMC depots paid great dividends because it shortened the timeline to resupply units with equipment needed to accomplish their wartime mission.
By 2012, the Battalion remained headquartered in Beaumont, Texas, consisting of about 30 professionals, including fewer than 10 military personnel, more than 20 civilian employees, and a few contract employees. In addition, the Battalion was supported by one contingency operation for active duty operational support officer, 2 interns, the US Coast Guard from the Marine Safety Unit at Port Arthur, and port labor from Ports America.
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