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Chapter 5

Reception and Onward Movement


Units may redeploy to home/demobilization stations in the US or overseas; they may also redeploy to another overseas location for operations. In the first case, RSO&I is a matter of reception at the POD and movement to and activities at home/demobilization stations. If the unit redeploys to another theater, its actions fro m the POD to assumption of new missions are governed by the principles in FM 100-17-3. Since FM 100-17-3 covers RSO&I in a new theater, this chapter primarily focuses on the process for units redeploying to home/demobilization stations.


Reception is the process of offloading personnel and equipment from strategic or operational transport, marshaling local transport, and providing life support to redeploying personnel. The supporting installation (SI), ASG, or other supporting organization, along with the commander receiving the forces, develops a reception and onward movement plan for all arriving forces and equipment. When possible, commanders of redeploying units send advance parties to coordinate the processing of those units. One of the primary requirements during this phase is coordinating the onward movement of forces to their destinations. This coordination requires personnel who know the unit, its movement configurations, and capabilities of the destination installation to provide necessary procedures and facilities for arriving unit personnel and equipment.

Once cargo arrives at the destination SPOD, the SI or other designated support organization has the primary role of coordinating with the MTMC port manager for reception and onward movement of the cargo. MTMC supports the same functions as it does for deployment. The MTMC water terminal, under port management of an active component MTMC transportation unit or activated reserve transportation terminal brigade/battalion (TTB), with support of a PSA, coordinates for commercial transportation support or unit organic lift capability for purposes of port clearance. MTMC works closely with the PSA and installation transportation officers (ITOs) to monitor the arrival of the returning equipment. All of the cargo is monitored by the transportation control number (TCN) assigned to it through the Transportation Coordinator-Automated Command and Control Information System (TC-ACCIS) or TC-AIMS II. Maximum utilization of available lift assets may require passengers, unit equipment, and materiel to be marshaled at PODs for consolidated movement. The ITOs receive the movement documents for all equipment that flows through their areas of responsibility. The ITO receives the commercially delivered assets, processes all paperwork, and releases the equipment to the unit. It is the unit's responsibility to account for all equipment. The units accomplish this accounting using the master DEL created through TC-ACCIS/TC-AIMS II in the theater of operations.


The SI, identified in Army Regulation (AR) 5-9 by geographical area, has the responsibility for planning and executing the return of units from the POD. Units redeploying to a foreign location are supported by a TSC/ASG or other organization that performs the functions of the US installation. In preparation for redeployment, the installation coordinates the actions and location of required support for the arrival ports and airfields. It coordinates with the PSA and arrival airfield control group (AACG), and establishes en route support sites as required by the redeployment plan.

Specific support functions provided by an SI may be stipulated in interservice or intraservice support agreements. Certain installation functions and responsibilities are essential. In the United States, specific installations identified in US Army Forces Command (FORSCOM)/Army National Guard (ARNG) Regulation 55-1 perform the PSA and AACG functions. The SI provides security assistance as needed through military police at the installation. The SI also coordinates with MTMC and other affected agencies to perform inbound freight, rail, air, and highway operations. This includes providing commercial transportation, MHE, and container handling equipment (CHE) as needed. It monitors operations, resolves problems, and reports as required to higher headquarters and other coordinating organizations.


Supporting units (ARNG, US Army Reserve (USAR), or other non-deployed units) provide assistance when tasked by the SI. These support functions may include receiving unit personnel and equipment or augmenting the PSA or AACG.


After the lift arrives at the POD, the unit begins the download. Support units and non-deployed home station personnel assist the unit. A reception is usually held for the unit. Unit responsibilities at the POD include:

  • Provide download teams and drivers. The SI may task redeploying units to provide download teams, drivers, and equipment to support POD operations. Personnel and equipment may be provided from destination (home station) elements or from elements arriving at the POD. For example, the APOD download team may be the aircraft passengers.

  • Process personnel and equipment for movement through the marshaling area. Upon discharge of a vessel, all equipment is received and staged by military or civilian stevedores. The PSA organizes the equipment to facilitate movement to the final destination. The equipment may be configured into unit sets, organized by type of equipment, or configured for movement by a certain type of transport (truck, rail, barge, or air).

  • Coordinate for customs clearance inspections with the port operator. Although most customs operations are conducted at the POE in theater, there may be additional customs requirements at the POD.

  • Complete equipment inspections and process movement documentation. After download and staging at the POD, equipment is prepared for movement. This preparation includes safety inspections and briefings, maintenance operations, and fueling. Documentation at the POD staging area may include unit receipt documents which show that the unit gained control of equipment for convoy operations. All equipment moving to the destination must be accompanied by copies of documentation. This includes hazardous material shipping declarations, papers, labels, placards, secondary cargo load plans, cards, packing lists, and MSLs. The unit regenerates any lost or incomplete documentation at the POD before movement.


Onward movement is the process of moving personnel and accompanying materiel from reception, marshaling, and staging areas to their destinations. The SI is responsible for support of arriving forces until they arrive at their destination. It also assists them in onward movement. It may help obtain access to transportation assets as well as required clearances. In the US, the SI's ITO coordinates with the Defense Movement Coordinator (DMC) within each state. The DMC is responsible for approving convoy clearances and coordinates with the state Department of Transportation (DOT) for obtaining special hauling permits.

The preferred method for onward movement is typically the same as used in the fort-to-port portion of deployment. If moving by road, the unit conducts serial/convoy operations in accordance with standing operating procedures (SOP) and installation guidance, including convoy clearances and movement times. It submits status reports as required by higher headquarters.

If the unit moves by rail, the following functions apply:

  • Sequence load for trains. The port authority or MTMC develops and publishes the rail load plan. Units conduct rail operations as required by this guidance.

  • Organize for rail loading. The installation with POD responsibilities operates railheads at the POD. Units provide drivers, tie-down teams, safety officers/noncommissioned officers (NCOs), and other resources as directed by the installation.

  • Move to the railhead and load trains. MTMC issues the Government Bill of Lading (GBL) for all commercial transportation from the POD. Units, in turn, assist MTMC with required documentation, including that associated with frustrated cargo.

  • Move Reserve Component (RC) equipment to the home station. The unit movement officer (UMO) prescribes the final destination for reserve equipment to the transportation coordinator. ARNG/USAR unit equipment moves to home station, mobilization station (MOBSTA), or as otherwise directed.


As units prepare for and actually move during redeployment, destination installation or ASG commanders plan and prepare for the units' return. This planning and preparation helps soldiers and families with reintroduction into peacetime environment and into family relationships.


Destinations for AC units are home stations. RC units return through a demobilization station. The demobilization station should be the same installation that served as the unit's mobilization station.

RC soldiers returning as individuals to CONUS for demobilization are processed at the CONUS replacement center through which they deployed. These centers are redesignated as CONUS demobilization centers (CDCs). CDCs receive, outprocess, and account for individuals returning from the theater. Individually returning AC soldiers and civilians also process through CDCs to turn in weapons, clothing, or protective gear issued at the processing center. RC individuals whose home of record is OCONUS should also return for processing through the same installation that processed them during mobilization/deployment. Follow-on locations for materiel returning to the US or for distribution elsewhere are determined through the automated distribution process by HQDA, AMC, and DLA.

Activities of demobilization stations are part of the demobilization process and are discussed in FM 100-17 and JP 4-05. Functions of destination home stations include:

  • Activate emergency operations center as required.

  • Publish warning order to supporting units and notify key agencies. Authorities notify public affairs offices and family support groups. They also coordinate with US customs for required support.

  • Provide installation functions and support. These functions are provided at the soldier readiness point and cover medical, family, and chaplain services. The installation also processes personal property and privately owned vehicles.

  • Open facilities. These include billets, dining halls, and morale, welfare, and recreation (MWR) facilities. Showers, laundry, and Class VI supplies may also be provided.

  • Conduct reception for returning units. Ideally, the reception area is situated so as not to interfere with other installation functions.

  • Deprocess personnel.

  • Provide maintenance support.

  • Provide for transportation and MHE/CHE requirements.

  • Establish area for turn-in of weapons and special equipment.

  • Return commercial assets to industry.


Upon arrival at the destination, the unit participates in reception activities. The unit also performs other tasks:

  • Disseminate follow-on orders. Commanders disseminate guidance and instructions to units for follow-on missions.

  • Arrange for deprocessing personnel. Final deprocessing includes legal, financial, and medical processing; mental health counseling; and review of personnel records. The unit conducts personal affairs briefings, emphasizing stress control and family relationships.

  • Download and turn in equipment. The owning unit downloads and processes equipment arriving at the destination. The tenant unit's installation coordinates download operations and the return of equipment to the owning unit.

  • Perform maintenance. Upon return of equipment to the owning unit, the responsibility for maintaining it returns to the unit. Units conduct technical inspections, preventive maintenance, oil analysis, and calibration. Units develop a maintenance plan and implement the plan to return equipment to predeployment condition. Maintenance operations could be extensive, depending on the previous operational condition and length of deployment.

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