Spearhead of Logistics
"Nothing Happens Until Something Moves"
On 28 June 1950, Congress officially recognized the importance of the Transportation Corps by making it a permanent branch of the Army. Transportation Corps support continued into the Korean War, the Vietnam Conflict, Grenada, Panama, Southwest Asia, Somali, Haiti and most recently in Bosnia.
The incorporation of the Transportation Corps into the U.S. Army's Regimental System on 31 July 1986, marked the beginning of a new era in the history of the Corps. Regimental affiliation fosters a spirit of pride, unity, cohesion, and cooperation among Transportation Corps soldiers and civilians and provides an organization that promotes and encourages professional development and growth. The activation of the Regiment marked the redesignation of several Transportation Corps training commands. The redesignation provided a link with renowned transportation units of the past. The Training Brigade was redesignated the 8th Transportation Brigade, honoring the 8th Transportation Group in Vietnam.
The United States Army Transportation Corps is one of the Army's youngest service branches, having been established in 1942. However, the origin of its vital role extends back as far as the Revolutionary War when animal-drawn transportation was used to move American and French forces. With the Civil War, came the extensive use of the Military Railway Service in moving the troops to battle. The importance of transportation for the military increased rapidly as the U.S. Army Transport Service appeared during the Spanish-American War; subsequently, the Transportation Service was created in World War II, the key role of transportation again became clear.
In March 1942, military transportation functions were taken from the Quartermaster Corps and given to the Transportation service of the newly created Services of Supply. On 31 July 1942, President Roosevelt, faced with the largest mobilization in history, established the Transportation Corps. This new Corps took over railway operations and maintenance from the Corps of Engineers in November 1942. From 1941 to 1945, the Transportation Corps moved 30 million soldiers within the United States and carried seven million soldiers and 126 million tons of supplies overseas, a decisive part in the Allied victory. From 1948 to 1949, the Transportation Corps again played a major role in the Berlin Airlift.
During World War II, the Transportation Corps conducted operations in the deserts of North Africa, the jungles of the Pacific theater, over the beaches of Normandy and throughout Europe. From its inception in 1942 through 1945, transporters moved 30 million soldiers in the United States and carried 7 million soldiers and 126 million tons of supplies overseas, playing a decisive part in the Allied victory.
The Berlin Airlift from 1948-49 kept the Allied portion of Berlin sustained until the Russians allowed supplies to recommence. The success of the airlift was due in large part to the dedication and skill of Transportation Corps soldiers. Transporters ensured smooth operations and cargo flow in Korea, Vietnam, Grenada, Panama and into Saudi Arabia. After the 82d Airborne Division, transporters from the 7th Transportation Group, FT Eustis, VA were the next soldiers to deploy to the Middle East, readying the ports, air terminals and lines of communication for the rest of the U.S. military. Transporters are among the first to deploy and the last to return from conflicts and exercises wherever they occur. Without the expertise and dedication of the 2400 officers and 20,900 enlisted soldiers of the Transportation Corps, operations of the Army would literally grind to a halt.
On 26 July 1986, the Transportation Corps formally instituted the Regimental system of organization during the annual TC worldwide conference at FT Eustis, VA. The Regimental Crest and motto, "Spearhead of Logistics" were also formally adopted at this time.
Currently, the Transportation Corps is the third-smallest branch in the Army. Of the 2428 officers on active duty, 20% are female, 80% male. Between 120-160 TC 2LTs are assessed each year. TC is a shortage branch into which Combat Arms 1LTs and CPTs transfer each year, as the demand for Transportation Corps officers increases with rank.
Transportation Corps lieutenants can be assigned to three different areas for their platoon leader experience. These areas are truck, boat, and terminal operations. Approximately 80% of Transportation Corps 2LTs are initially assigned as Truck Platoon Leaders. Locations range virtually across the globe -- from Korea to Hawaii, from Alaska to Fort Lewis, WA, from FT Devens, MA to Nurnberg, FRG, and hundreds of places in between.
Light truck companies and POL units usually support maneuver forces directly, hauling cargo and soldiers in support of exercises and deployments for a brigade, division, or corps. Vehicles include the 5 ton truck and tractor, and the 30 foot trailer and 5000 gallon tanker. The Platoon Leader will usually deploy with his/her platoon if the exercise/deployment is large or complex, and the LT will often serve as the OIC for the support element. In CONUS, expect to deploy to the National Training Center (NTC), Team Spirit (Korea) or to any other large-scale exercises with your supported combat unit.
Medium truck Platoon Leaders have a slightly different mission as the M915 tractor trailer combination is primarily an on-road asset. The M915 is a 14 ton tractor and the 40 foot trailer can haul up to 34 tons of cargo. The mission of 915 companies is to push large quantities of cargo from theater to corps level, so the light truck companies can take the smaller loads forward to the warfighters on or near the battlefield. Medium truck Platoon Leaders will deploy with their platoons as convoy commanders and OICs for some missions, but potentially will serve less time in the field than light truck Platoon Leaders.
Whether in a light, medium or light/medium company, your soldiers will often be tasked to operate around post as well, as transportation truck units are committed daily in support of garrison missions. Instilling pride, safety consciousness and active professionalism in your soldiers is a very large part of your duties as a truck Platoon Leader.
Heavy Equipment Transportation (HET) truck units serve one purpose in the Army -- they move the tanks around the battlefield for tactical or strategic advantage. The soldiers assigned to HET units are usually experienced senior enlisted ranks and NCOs. There is no garrison transportation mission for HETs, but upkeep of the equipment usually keeps the non-deployed platoons busy when out of the field.
Boat Platoon Leaders are assigned to specific locations: FT Eustis, VA; FT Story, VA; Hawaii; or Panama. Standard deployments for boat companies include Greenland, Antarctica, Honduras, and Panama. Boat Platoon Leaders do not serve as vessel commanders. On the smaller vessels, SGTs perform this function, on larger boats Warrant Officers fill these slots. The Platoon Leader ensures that missions are properly tasked, prepared for, and will deploy to ensure accomplishment, but the technical aspects of operating the vessel at sea are not his/her responsibility.
The Terminal Service and Terminal Transfer units routinely deploy to the above locations as well as Korea, Europe, the Philippines, Japan, throughout the US, and most recently, to the Middle East. Broadly put, ANY TIME the Army moves a significant amount of materiel somewhere, the Terminal units will deploy to upload at CONUS ports, then again to download at the destination port. In addition to the locations listed for the boat Platoon Leaders (minus Hawaii), terminal slots exist at FT Campbell and FT Bragg.
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