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Chapter 4

Activities at the Port of Embarkation


Units usually redeploy through APOEs and SPOEs, though they may also use railways and roads. Typically, unit personnel redeploy by air, while unit equipment moves via sealift. This chapter discusses responsibilities and operations at POEs. Procedures at POEs are similar, whether units are redeploying to home stations or to another theater.


A number of organizations must synchronize their efforts at POEs to effectively conduct redeployment. This section discusses key POE responsibilities of several of the major organizations involved in redeployment. Activities of specific elements are covered in the rest of this chapter. ASCC/ARFOR and TSC functions and responsibilities are essentially the same regardless of the type of POE. Some unit functions are different at APOEs than at SPOEs; those functions are discussed separately.


Support responsibilities of the tactical support organizations of ARFOR and their major subordinate elements diminish as units move through the POE. They act as the bridge between redeploying units and the TSC and other supporting organizations. In the approach to and at the port, they perform the following functions:

  • Coordinate movements. They coordinate movement and non-organic transport requirements with the responsible MCA/MCT for movement to the POE.

  • Transition CSS to TSC/ASG and other support activities. CSS units assigned to the tactical elements of the ARFOR may be conducting their own redeployments or may be required to support units still performing the tactical mission. In such cases, the COSCOM, DISCOM, and other tactical-level support organizations coordinate to transition support of redeploying units to the TSC/ASG and other EAC support organizations as required.

  • Receive and publish port calls. The ARFOR receives port calls and notification to move to APOEs from higher headquarters and notifies units to move to the POE.

  • Provide updated verified unit data as required. The ASCC/ARFOR or its subordinate commands update any changes to equipment lists after verification by units in accordance with guidance from the JFC.

  • Monitor redeployment and resolve problems. The ASCC/ARFOR monitors redeployment operations and conducts necessary coordination with higher headquarters. It tracks unit movements from assembly areas to ports to ensure compliance with port calls and other published guidance.


As units move to and through the POE, the TSC/ASG or other designated support organization accomplishes the following:

  • Coordinate with USTRANSCOM agencies. The TSC, through its MCA, coordinates with the Air Mobility Command (for strategic airlift) and MTMC (for strategic sealift).

  • Control movements. The MCA controls movement from the combat zone (CZ) to the COMMZ. It also coordinates non-organic transportation support with other theater movement control elements. Port MCTs are positioned at air and sea ports to coordinate movement of personnel and cargo. Responsibilities include scheduling, controlling, and coordinating movements. They have ITV of personnel, unit equipment, and supplies moving to the port. They commit assigned modes and terminal assets according to JFC planning directives.

  • Coordinate unit requirements during marshaling. Units frequently arrive in marshaling areas with special needs such as specialized maintenance requirements or help to alleviate driver shortages. The TSC assists in meeting these and other requirements to ensure the process at the port is not interrupted.

  • Provide CSS. The TSC/ASG and other designated support organizations provide CSS to units within the port area.

  • Update mission priorities. The TSC and other designated support organizations are responsive to changes in mission priorities to meet the JFC's intent. Effective planning and experienced personnel can help smooth the effects of short-notice changes.

  • Operate required marshaling area and equipment turn-in sites. Support organizations establish turn-in sites when excess materiel must be disposed of.

In Operation JOINT ENDEAVOR/GUARD, LSE-Europe established an equipment turn-in location. This enabled units that had drawn APS equipment to turn in equipment close to marshaling areas in Bosnia rather than taking the equipment back to the original storage site in the Netherlands. The same procedure was developed to handle excess Class IX and other commodities. As these stock levels increased, equipment and supplies were marshaled according to destination, and shipment was coordinated with an MCA.

  • Manage and issue containers, flatracks, and 463L pallets. The MCA or movement control battalion has this responsibility. It reviews requests for these items and ensures that these resources are positioned when and where needed.

  • Open staging area. The staging area is within the POE operations area. The opening of this area occurs simultaneously with the opening of the nearby POE marshaling area.

  • Operate staging area support sites. There may be requirements to set up external support sites which support the staging area, such as driver holding areas. The TSC establishes and maintains these sites as required.

  • Provide DACG support as required. A cargo transfer company is typically assigned the DACG mission. It conducts airfield clearance operations by reviewing and processing planeloads for release.

  • Provide PSA support as required. The PSA is a temporary military augmentation organization. It is under the operational control (OPCON) of the port operator and assists in handling cargo. The PSA mission may be accomplished by rotating deploying units or designating a specific unit for the duration of the redeployment. Designation of a single unit is more effective.


Units may need to move equipment to APS turn-in sites while also moving personnel and equipment to POE marshaling areas. When they arrive at the port, they complete processing for strategic movement. They perform the following activities:

  • Send a liaison officer to the POE operations area and equipment turn-in/issue site. When the unit arrives at the marshaling area, it dispatches a liaison officer to conduct coordination and identify unit requirements (such as drivers).

  • Move equipment to the turn-in site and process equipment. The unit prepares and processes APS equipment for turn-in at the APS site. It may be directed to provide drivers and other necessary support. AWRSPTCMD/USAMMA site managers are responsible for receiving equipment at APS storage sites, to include Army pre-positioned afloat (APA) vessels.

  • Move load teams to the POE. Load teams form part of the PSA. The liaison officer coordinates the movement of the load teams to the POE. These teams primarily consist of equipment operators who drive unit equipment from the staging area to the lift asset.

  • Coordinate transition of CSS responsibilities. The responsibility to provide the unit with CSS in the port area transitions from the tactical-level CSS elements of the ARFOR to the TSC/ASG or other designated support organizations, if not previously transferred. Unit support personnel coordinate with the TSC and other support elements to ensure smooth transition.

  • Conduct unit customs and wash-down inspections. All vehicles and equipment returning to CONUS must pass Department of Agriculture cleanliness standards prior to redeployment. Because of the potential for harm to agricultural crops, units must thoroughly clean vehicles and equipment to remove residual soil. Unit wash-down and customs inspections ensure that equipment meets stringent agricultural standards. After units have cleaned vehicles and equipment, customs officials inspect them. Units must rewash items failing the inspection. When wash-down and inspections are complete, MSLs may be applied (see Appendix C).

  • Coordinate movement to the staging area. Units receive and publish guidance and timelines for movement from marshaling areas to POE staging areas. Units must have their port calls/notification to move to APOEs prior to movement to the POE staging area.

  • Load containers. During marshaling, units load containers that have not already been loaded in the RAA.

  • Configure equipment for transport. Units load all equipment with secondary loads. They prepare and configure equipment for transport in accordance with the most restrictive requirement. This is determined by the mode of transport identified for that equipment. For example, equipment may move to an SPOE via rail, but the ship configuration is more restrictive than the rail configuration. Therefore, the unit must configure the equipment for vessel movement prior to loading equipment onto the train.

  • Prepare documentation. The unit completes all documentation (hazardous papers, labels, placards, secondary cargo load plans, cards, packing lists, and MSLs) prior to load and lift. It must complete the input to the DEL (actual weights, dimensions, and final destination) before applying MSLs to equipment and containers. The MCA is responsible for assisting units with their DELs when redeploying from theater. The unit must ensure all necessary information/data is loaded into each RF tag used. At a minimum, RF tags should be attached to all sensitive item containers and equipment. Updated information concerning AIT will be posted on the CASCOM web page located at

  • Conduct security operations. Units coordinate their security operations with the organization designated by the JFC/ASCC/ARFOR commander to provide security at the POE. Because of the low level of unit capability as the unit configures for strategic movement, the unit depends significantly on the responsible organization for security.


JP 1-02 defines marshaling as "the process of assembling, holding, and organizing supplies and/or equipment, especially vehicles of transportation, for onward movement." During redeployment, marshaling involves separating personnel and equipment at or near the POE and preparing equipment for shipment. To avoid congestion in the ports, marshaling typically occurs in marshaling areas as near the port as possible. Establishment of marshaling areas is the responsibility of the designated logistics agency. Figure 4-1 depicts a representative marshaling area with associated activities. Essentially the unit prepares personnel and equipment for processing through the POE operations areas. Units may conduct some marshaling in assembly areas (AAs and RAAs) when lack of sufficient available space or other factors prevent the establishment of separate marshaling areas.

Figure 4-1. Representative Marshaling Area Operations

Unit activities in the marshaling process are the responsibility of the redeploying unit commander. He is responsible for completing the functions required to prepare equipment and personnel for loading aboard strategic lift. The unit may move by air, rail, ship, or barge. Marshaling operations are specific to the mode of transportation, but they have similar preload requirements. The following paragraphs address marshaling considerations and unit responsibilities for each type of movement.


SPOE marshaling operations prevent congestion within the terminal area and provide space for sorting vehicles for vessel loading. This is the final en route location for preparation of unit equipment for strategic movement prior to the equipment entering the port staging area. Equipment should arrive within 48 hours of the ship-loading time by rail or truck. Equipment arriving in a marshaling area is segregated in accordance with the cargo stowage plan. When a separate marshaling area is not available, units enter directly into the port staging area.

The unit prepares helicopters arriving at the SPOE marshaling area for vessel movement. Helicopter cocooning includes reduction, defueling, packing, and shrink wrapping. If space is available inside the SPOE, the unit cocoons the helicopters as close to the vessel as possible to reduce damage to the helicopter during movement.


Marshaling activities should take place as close as possible to the departure airfield. Marshaling area locations should facilitate airfield operations and the functioning of the redeploying unit.

If required, a heavy drop rigging site provides parachute packing, airdrop equipment inspection, storage, and airdrop rigging support. An important function during redeployment that occurs at this site is retrieval of airdrop equipment used in the theater.

Unit responsibilities specific to the APOE marshaling area are as follow:

  • Establish liaison with the DACG and other supporting agencies. The unit liaison is certified in air movement operations.

  • Conduct a unit-level inspection of equipment before entry into the marshaling area.

  • Provide personnel for security of equipment.

  • Conduct pre-joint equipment inspections with the DACG.

  • Prepare helicopters for air movement.

  • Perform final preparation of vehicles and equipment according to air transport guidelines. This includes weighing and marking the center of balance on vehicles.

  • Prepare documentation to include load plans, manifest, and shipper's documentation.

  • Ensure adequate shoring material is on hand and readily available.

  • Assemble personnel, supplies, and equipment into aircraft loads according to established load plans.

  • Ensure planeload or troop commanders are appointed and properly briefed on their responsibilities.

  • Provide escorts for sensitive items.

  • Develop an alternate (bump) plan for chalks in the event aircraft become non-mission capable. A chalk is a grouping of personnel, equipment, or materiel that constitutes a complete load aboard an aircraft.

  • Ensure equipment and personnel arrive in chalk order.

  • Pass control of unit aircraft loads to the DACG at the CFA after the equipment has gone through the joint inspection.


Railways are important resources when available. Railheads may serve as intermediate locations for transport to APOEs and SPOEs. In some circumstances they may serve as a primary means for transporting equipment to final destinations (for example, returning equipment from Bosnia to central European storage facilities). The following activities are involved when railways are a part of the redeployment process:

  • Sequence loads for rail spurs. The ASCC/ARFOR/TSC develops and publishes the rail load plan on the basis of the TPFDD and corresponding DELs.

  • Finalize rail load. The TSC/ASG or other designated support organization manages railhead operations in the marshaling/staging areas. Units provide drivers, tie-down teams, safety monitors, and others, as directed by the TSC/ASG.

  • Move to rail staging area, if a separate one is required. Equipment is cleaned and customs cleared before arrival at the rail staging area if the equipment is going directly from the train to be uploaded on a vessel or aircraft.

  • Move to the railhead and load the train. The unit provides documentation for rail transport to the MCA responsible for railhead operations. The MCA consolidates and coordinates all rail movements with the carrier.


Whether the unit is moving from the POE marshaling area or directly into the port from an en route location, provisions must be made to complete several key processes. Unit load teams and drivers begin this phase when they arrive at the POE. Load teams drive their equipment from the marshaling area to, and usually onto, the transportation provided. Customs inspections may occur at any node during redeployment. Personnel and equipment have separate processing requirements.


Before entering the POE operations area, units complete final wash-down, customs inspections, and documentation. All equipment is inspected to pass agricultural standards. The unit must complete all documentation before loading. This includes hazardous shipping declarations, papers, labels, secondary cargo load plans, cards, packing lists, and MSLs. The input to the DEL (actual weights, dimensions, and final destination) must be completed prior to MSL application to equipment/containers. Processing normally requires a separate sterile area close to the loading area to prevent compromise of agricultural clearances. After acceptance by the POE processing agent, equipment, as well as personnel, are quarantined until loaded aboard strategic lift.


Units conduct a final manifest call. They process personnel (check identification tags and cards, earplugs, and other items as directed) and develop a manifest. Anti-hijacking briefings are conducted and weigh-in of personnel and equipment is completed. Processing actions for commercial charter aircraft are in accordance with commercial charter instructions and joint transportation regulations. Personnel process hand-carried items with customs inspectors and fill out declaration forms.

The ASCC/ARFOR commander may consider developing procedures to specifically address the movement and processing needs of mobilized personnel who will be returning to reserve status. Such solders may process using such procedures designed for their specific situations (units that have been deployed partially or replacement soldiers deployed individually).

The status of such individually deployed personnel and partially deployed units differs from whole unit mobilizations brought into active status under a higher level call-up authority such as partial mobilization. These larger units are considered to be Active Component (AC) units after mobilization and are redeployed using the same procedures as those used for all Army forces. As mentioned in Chapter 5, they are processed through demobilization centers in CONUS or designated OCONUS facilities to return to peacetime operations.


An APOE has three major areas, excluding any associated marshaling areas, as depicted in Figure 4-2. Within these areas, the DACG and the tanker airlift control element (TALCE) control operations. The DACG is typically tailored from a cargo transfer company. The DACG coordinates all unit efforts at the APOE. A port MCT is the interface between the unit and the DACG. It controls all movement of redeploying units on the airfield up to the point of the ready line. At the ready line, the TALCE assumes control and coordinates movement to the aircraft. The TALCE coordinates the airlift operations at the APOE. The following discussions address the activities and responsibilities of key organizations at each area of the APOE.

Figure 4-2. Notional Aerial Port of Embarkation


The alert holding area is the equipment, vehicle, and passenger control area. It is located in the vicinity of the departure airfield. It is used to assemble, inspect, hold, and service aircraft loads. Control of loads transfers from the redeploying unit to the DACG at this point.

At the alert holding area, the unit--

  • Provides the DACG with the passenger and cargo manifest. Units ensure the accuracy of these and all other required documentation for boarding passengers and loading cargo.

  • Ensures aircraft load arrival. Loads must arrive at the times specified by the DACG. Vehicle drivers remain with vehicles until released.

  • Corrects load discrepancies. The unit corrects all discrepancies identified during pre-inspection.

The DACG directs unit personnel using the liaison officer or C2 structure provided by the unit. At the alert holding area, the DACG--

  • Confirms load arrival and accuracy. Arrival at the alert holding area at the time agreed upon by the unit and TALCE is critical. The DACG receives, inventories, and controls aircraft loads as they arrive at the alert holding area. DACG representatives also inspect to ensure that loads are complete and correctly prepared. Required shoring, floor protection materials, and 463L dunnage must be available.

  • Verifies weight and balance markings. These markings have important safety implications and must be accurate. The DACG normally establishes a discrepancy correction area.

  • Inspects HAZMAT documentation. Documentation must be accurate and complete. Failure to accurately complete HAZMAT documentation can have catastrophic consequences if incompatible hazardous materials are shipped together.

  • Provides required services. The DACG provides emergency maintenance; petroleum, oil and lubricants (POL) resupply; and materiel handling equipment (MHE) as required to outload.

  • Directs aircraft loads to the CFA. The DACG calls loads to the CFA for joint inspection (JI).


The CFA is the departure airfield location where a unit representative, a member of the DACG, and the TALCE conduct the JI. They complete a DD Form 2133 (Joint Airlift Inspection Record) to indicate to the aircrew loadmaster that the inspection team has completed the required inspection. (See Appendix B.) The unit corrects any discrepancies, and the inspection team checks to ensure the problems are corrected. The redeploying unit receives a final briefing, and all manifests are reviewed for accuracy.

Specific functions of the redeploying unit at the CFA are as follow:

  • Moves equipment to the CFA. The unit moves vehicles with drivers forward in chalk (load) sequence.

  • Conducts the JI with the DACG and TALCE. They verify all weights, markings, fuel levels, operational conditions of vehicles, cleanliness, and HAZMAT status.

  • Ensures that vehicles and drivers, pallets, and equipment are in the call forward chalk (load) sequence. Establishing proper load sequence compatible with the type of lift is vital to maintaining a smooth flow through the POE.

  • Moves to-accompany-troops (TAT) equipment to the CFA. Units may have to maintain security, supply, maintenance, and accountability of TAT equipment as they prepare for strategic lift. If TAT or not-authorized-for-pre-positioning (NAP) equipment is to be loaded immediately, an accountable officer ensures that related property accountability documents move with the main body of the unit. If the equipment reaches the APOE after the main body departs, the unit leaves related documentation with the rear detachment.

  • Moves equipment to the ready line. After loads have passed inspection, the unit moves equipment to the ready line, where it is segregated by load and released to the TALCE for loading.

At the CFA, the DACG--

  • Establishes APOE communications. It must be able to communicate with the TALCE and redeploying units.

  • Participates in the JI. The DACG ensures that the unit corrects discrepancies found during the JI.

  • Ensures correctness of passenger/cargo manifests. The DACG coordinates with the unit and helps correct manifest discrepancies.

  • Reassembles aircraft loads. If an aircraft aborts or there is a discrepancy in the planned aircraft cabin load, the DACG reassembles aircraft loads with the assistance of the TALCE and prepares required manifest changes.

  • Maintains status of scheduled air movement. The DACG maintains statistical data to account for the current status of all unit personnel and equipment scheduled for air movement.

  • Maintains the movement timetable. The DACG ensures that the unit adheres to the established movement timetable.

  • Provides loading team resources. The DACG provides personnel and support equipment, to include one pusher vehicle per load team.

  • Provides safety devices. The DACG provides gloves, goggles, ear protection, and reflective devices for load team members.

  • Escorts aircraft loads to the ready line. The DACG ensures that all personnel are briefed on flight line safety, including driving procedures, smoking rules, and other applicable local safety requirements.

  • Retains required documents. The DACG retains a final corrected copy of each passenger/cargo manifest and inspection record.

  • Provides needed services and facilities. The DACG provides fuel and defuel capability and establishes passenger holding areas as required.

At the CFA, the TALCE--

  • Coordinates load changes. It informs the DACG of all required changes to the load configurations.

  • Participates in the JI. As previously noted, the TALCE conducts the JI with the unit and DACG.

  • Provides briefing information. The TALCE provides passenger briefing guides for the passengers' representative to brief the troops for on/offload procedures. It also furnishes a guide for briefing vehicle drivers and passengers on flight line safety, driving procedures, smoking rules, and special precautions.

  • Provides load team chief. A team chief for each loading team trains and supervises personnel detailed to load equipment aboard aircraft.

  • Provides passenger escorts. For flight line safety, the TALCE provides escorts for passengers moving to the aircraft.

  • Coordinates with the DACG for movement to the ready line. The TALCE notifies the DACG when to dispatch loads to the loading ramp area ready line.

  • Provides airflow information. It provides this information to the DACG as required.


The TALCE controls the loading ramp area, including the ready line area. The ready line is a sterile area with controlled access where the equipment and personnel await aircraft loading. At this point, control of units for movement purposes passes to the Air Mobility Command. When notified, unit personnel and equipment move to the ready line to complete loading.

At this point, the DACG performs the following functions:

  • Transfers control to the TALCE. The TALCE becomes responsible for controlling and monitoring the aircraft loading operations.

  • Provides load teams. The DACG assists in loading and securing aircraft loads as required by the load team chief.

  • Coordinates with the redeploying unit. The DACG maintains coordination with the unit or its representative throughout the loading process.

  • Coordinates load completion time. The DACG obtains aircraft load completion times from the TALCE.

The TALCE maintains liaison and coordination with aircraft crews, the DACG, and redeploying units. The TALCE--

  • Accepts planeloads. The DACG passes the loads to the TALCE. If a TALCE representative is not available, the aircraft loadmaster accepts the load.

  • Conducts safety briefings. The TALCE ensures that everyone is briefed on flight line safety.

  • Coordinates load positioning. It ensures that each aircraft load is positioned at the proper aircraft at the specified time.

  • Coordinates loading. It maintains coordination with aircraft loadmasters and ensures that loads are placed aboard aircraft on schedule.

  • Provides loading equipment. The TALCE provides and operates MHE and special loading equipment where required.

  • Provides documentation. It provides aircraft loadmasters with required copies of the passenger/cargo manifests and retains copies for TALCE files.

The loadmaster is responsible for loading the aircraft. The load team includes drivers and a small group of soldiers who load, tie down, and assist the loadmaster in loading the aircraft. They--

  • Receive loads at the ready line.

  • Coordinate loading operations. The aircraft primary loadmaster directs the load team through the team leader to ensure all equipment and supplies are properly restrained in the aircraft.

  • Coordinate special assistance requirements. They coordinate with the TALCE ready line coordinator for special assistance or equipment needed.

  • Collect passenger/cargo manifests from the TALCE. The load team chief passes copies of these to the aircraft primary loadmaster.

  • Inform the TALCE of the load completion times. The team chief passes load times to the airlift operations center (AOC) section of the TALCE.

The planeload commander or troop commander monitors and controls aircraft passengers and retains one copy of the final passenger/cargo manifest. He provides assistance in loading and securing the aircraft load as requested by the load team chief. He also ensures that vehicle drivers and equipment operators follow the instructions of the load team chief or primary loadmaster while loading equipment on the aircraft.


Units normally move to the SPOE marshaling area from their assembly areas or an en route location. However, units may have to move directly into the SPOE staging area. Figure 4-3 depicts a notional SPOE. Some SPOEs may not have total use of the port area. Managers and operators must closely coordinate their activities with host nation authorities as well as joint and multinational elements. Joint-use facilities and limited real estate availability require port authorities and redeploying forces to modify processes to accommodate the capabilities.


As the single port manager (SPM), USTRANSCOM through MTMC directs water terminal operations to include supervising movement operations, contracts, cargo documentation, security operations, and the overall flow of information. When necessary in areas where MTMC does not maintain a manned presence, a port management cell is established. The SPM is responsible for providing strategic deployment/redeployment information to the JFC and to workload the port operator based on the JFC's priorities and intent. The actual organization of the MTMC unit varies with the number of terminals involved.

The geographic combatant commander has several options available for the port operator, including use of a deployable transportation group or MTMC, under a command arrangements agreement (CAA), to operate some or all of the theater water terminals.

Early in a force projection operation, supported combatant commanders regulate the transportation flow by ensuring that adequate support and reception assets, effectively coordinated through a theater reception plan, are either available at the POD or deployed early in the movement schedule to facilitate theater distribution and RSO&I. This will expedite the reception of personnel and materiel in the operational area. Likewise, as forces prepare to redeploy, operations at and near the ports must be planned with the same care.

During force projection operations under hostile conditions, soldiers may have to perform many of the port functions. Once hostilities subside or cease, these types of activities may transition to MTMC-administered contract operations. The commander decides when the threat level will permit this transition. In cases such as a major theater war, this may not occur until some point during the redeployment process, if at all. A well planned HNS contract agreement should reduce the US military support footprint in theater and reduce the need for early deployment of supporting units. During redeployment, it may mean that Army transportation units in theater may redeploy earlier to home station or another theater.

Figure 4-3. Notional Sea Port of Embarkation


The mission of the PSA is to ensure that the equipment of redeploying units is ready to be loaded onto vessels and to operate unique equipment in conjunction with ship-loading operations at the SPOE. PSA assets come from the ASG or other designated support organization. The makeup and operation of the PSA are tailored to the type, size, and mode of transportation of units passing through the port. The PSA performs the following functions:

  • Conduct equipment maintenance. The PSA performs maintenance and provides limited repair parts support as required.

  • Correct load deficiencies. It corrects improperly secured loads and equipment configuration deficiencies.

  • Provide security. The PSA must ensure that provisions for security of sensitive (protected) and classified cargo are adequate.

  • Assist with aircraft fly-in operations. Activities include fire protection, defueling, and disassembling. If necessary, the PSA may include an air traffic control element.

  • Provide personnel for loading. The PSA provides operators for all types of equipment and personnel who may assist in loading and offloading the vessel.


The redeploying unit may have to provide supercargoes to accompany unit cargo aboard ships. Offload preparation parties (OPPs) may deploy with the advanced party to assist in vessel discharge.

An OPP is a temporary task organization, normally consisting of mechanics and equipment operators, assembled to help discharge the unit's equipment and supplies at the SPOD. OPPs are particularly important when the unit is redeploying to another theater. Their assistance in preparing equipment for operations and in off-loading it can reduce the time required for RSO&I in the new theater.

Supercargoes are redeploying unit personnel designated on orders to accompany, secure, and maintain unit cargo on board a ship. They also perform a liaison role during cargo reception at the SPOE, shipload and discharge operations, and POE port clearance operations.

Supercargo requirements are coordinated through the MTMC port manager. Unit commanders may recommend the number of personnel required; however, the Military Sealift Command determines the actual number of supercargo personnel permitted on board based on the berthing capacity. The composition of the team depends on several factors including the number of passenger berths available, the amount and types of vehicles/equipment redeploying, and the number of units with equipment loaded on the ship.


Units must perform certain actions on arrival at the SPOE. They--

  • Link up with the PSA. The unit reviews the POE operations area and procedures with the PSA. Together they identify potential problem areas.

  • Integrate with POE security operations. Unit personnel are briefed on the SPOE security operation as directed by the PSA. The unit augments existing security forces where required within its constrained capability.

  • Conduct final inspection with the port operator. Units verify all weights, markings, and fuel levels. Units comply with regulations concerning control or disposal of HAZMAT to include Class V supplies. They also conduct a final compliance check for any equipment that has been exposed to NBC hazards.

  • Perform maintenance. Units put equipment in operating condition and prepare it for loading. Units confirm that vehicles and equipment meet cleanliness standards.

  • Prepare helicopters for loading. As previously mentioned, units prepare helicopters for loading as close to the vessel as conditions allow.

  • Establish a unit liaison with the MTMC port management cell.

As vessels are prepared for loading, the port operator calls equipment to the port staging area based on the call forward plan. The PSA performs functions such as driving vehicles and correcting deficiencies not corrected in the marshaling area. When the port operator notifies the unit to move to the port staging area, the unit is responsible for the following functions:

  • Prepare loads in load sequence. Units arrange equipment and vehicles with appropriate drivers IAW the call forward plan.

  • Conduct the final inspection. Units complete joint inspections with the port operator.

  • Move supercargoes to the port staging area. The troop commander must ensure proper life support for supercargoes during the loading process.

  • Provide documentation. Units pass required load documentation information to the port operator. They consider special loading techniques.

  • Load strategic lift. Unit drivers augmenting the PSA move equipment from the SPOE staging area to vessels at the direction of the PSA.


From boarding at the POE until offloading at the POD, passengers and cargo are under the authority of USTRANSCOM. If redeploying to another theater, Army commanders retain command of units and report to the gaining command. When redeploying to home station, the home station parent command assumes C2 of units at PODs. The home station command monitors the redeployment process from PODs to home station and resolves problems.

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