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California Reserve Unit first to get new PLS-A1 trucks

Feb 14, 2011

By Ashley John and Maj. Corey Schultz

LOS ALAMITOS, Calif. (Feb. 14, 2011) -- The 730th Transportation Company of the Army Reserve has become the first unit to be equipped with the new Palletized Load System truck.

In a ceremony Feb. 4, the Army's Program Executive Office for Combat Support and Combat Service Support formally recognized the new transportation company of the 311th Expeditionary Sustainment Command, saying it was only fitting that the new unit receive the Army's newest trucks.

The new PLS-A1 incorporates a 600-horsepower Caterpillar C-15 engine and Allison 4500 6-speed transmission, which meets on-road EPA requirements, and an independent steel spring front suspension system. The truck also features improved heating and air-conditioning, an electrical system capable of future support of diagnostic and prognostic maintenance systems, and an antilock brake system with traction control.

Since September 2010, Soldiers of the 730th have trained hard to be ready for the 60 new trucks, said Col. John Smith, chief of staff of the 311th Expeditionary Support Command.

"This is the second 'First Unit Equipped ceremony' I've been privileged to attend, and it's the second one for the Army Reserve," said Lt. Col. Paul Shuler, the product manager for heavy tactical vehicles at PEO CS&CSS. "The PLS-A1 is the best we have."

During the ceremony, U.S. Army Col. David Bassett, project manager for tactical vehicles at PEO CS&CSS, addressed how the PLS-A1 is designed with a fully scalable and integrated cab armor protection package, meaning the vehicle comes off the production line equipped with "A-Kit" armor components and built-in mounting provisions for the "B-Kit."

The B-Kit can be installed on the vehicle, as missions dictate, to provide maximum 360-degree protection for the crew in a combat environment.

"These trucks are designed to get you there, get you back and get you home safely," said Bassett. "I'm gratified we can put equipment in the hands of Soldiers."

Bassett explained that this second fielding of new equipment to a Reserve unit recognizes the unique contribution that citizen Soldiers make to the nation's defense. The 730th TC is now the only unit in the Army with the new PLS-A1 capability.

"What's occurring here today represents much more than new trucks," said Smith. "It represents our ability to supply and support the fighting force."

The new truck was designed and manufactured by Oshkosh Defense. Mike Ivy, vice president and general manager of Army Programs for Oshkosh Defense was on site to deliver a commemorative plaque to the unit.

"It's an honor to see the first PLS-A1 fielded to the 730th TC," said Ivy. "The PLS has become the backbone of the Army's distribution and resupply system since it entered Army service in 1993. The PLS-A1 delivers performance and protection improvements that are important to America's Soldiers, and we're proud to provide it."

"Many units can put a battalion into combat," Smith said. "The question becomes, how do you resupply? And the answer is a robust and versatile logistics system."

This is where the Army Reserve comes in, Smith explained --- to provide trained and ready Soldiers able to deploy at a fraction of the cost. Today's ceremony represents the commitment of the Army to keep the Army Reserve trained and ready, he said.

In November 2010, the Army's product manager for heavy tactical vehicles, which falls under the leadership of the project manager for tactical vehicles, PEO CS&CSS, obtained full material release approval for the PLS-A1, with the direction for the first 60 vehicles to be equipped for the Army Reserve.

The PLS-A1 supports the Army's need for local and long-distance line-haul supply operations. There are two PLS-A1 configurations, the M1074A1 and M1075A1; both feature the same payload and towing capacity.

The M1074A1 is equipped with a material-handling crane and is used primarily for the local materiel-handling mission, mainly in support of ammunition handling at local ammunition holding areas and ammunition transfer points.

The M1075A1, which does not feature a crane, is used primarily for long-distance line-haul missions.

The fielding of the PLS-A1 will permit the Army to replace many of the older, aging PLS-series trucks currently in use.

(Ashley John is a strategic communications specialist for PEO CS&CSS and Maj Corey Schultz is a media relations office for the U.S. Army Reserve.)

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