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Chapter 8

Reception and Onward Movement

This chapter provides an overview of the last two phases (reception and onward movement) of the deployment process (see Figure 8-1). Reception and onward movement are the responsibility of the theater commander implemented by TAMCA, TRANSCOM, or equivalent organization. Arrival within the theater marks the transition from the strategic to operational level. Transfer of advance arrival information from USTRANSCOM to the gaining commander is essential to plan for reception and onward movement of theater resources.

Figure 8-1. Reception Process


8-1. There are two different reception and onward movement processes. One is for units deploying with their own equipment and another for units deploying only with TAT equipment. This second reception and onward movement process is defined by plans that require the unit to draw AR stocks.

8-2. Reception is a command responsibility. The TAACOM is responsible for the health, welfare, and life support of arriving forces and for assisting with their onward movement. Onward movement is coordinated by movement control units to ensure a smooth flow of personnel, equipment, and supplies through the PODs and inland LOCs.

8-3. Unit personnel should arrive at the APOD to coincide with equipment draw, either at the SPOD or at AR stock sites. When unit personnel arrive, they may move as follows:

  • Directly to a unit marshaling area if the unit moves with its equipment.
  • To AR stock sites to draw equipment.
  • To waiting aircraft for theater air movement (AAI).
  • Directly to the SPOD to receive unit equipment off-loaded from vessels at the SPOD.
  • To holding areas, if equipment is delayed.

8-4. Planning must focus on moving units through the PODs without delay. Marshaling areas are planned to allow rapid clearing of the PODs and make staging areas available for off-loading. This reduces port congestion, thus reducing the potential for work slowdowns or stoppages in discharge operations.

8-5. Theater based reception begins with the arrival of forces and their sustainment at the POD. The primary challenge of this process is port clearance. Except in the case of forcible entry, port opening forces should precede the arrival of combat forces. Other CS and CSS forces may either precede or arrive concurrently with combat forces to conduct force reception and onward movement operations, establish theater distribution infrastructure, or to conduct security operations.


8-6. Reception at the APOD is coordinated by the senior logistics commander and executed by an ATMCT, AACG, or both, depending upon the magnitude of the operation. The ATMCT and/or AACG must be in the lead elements of the transported force. Augmentation with cargo transfer units or HNS is desired to rapidly clear the port.


8-7. The main areas of the arrival airfield are the off-load ramp, the holding area, and the unit marshaling area (see Figure 8-2). The TALCE will supervise off-loading arriving aircraft. The AACG will escort loads to the holding area and assist the unit in assembling and moving to the marshaling area.

Figure 8-2. Notional Aerial Port of Debarkation


8-8. The off-load ramp area activities are controlled by the TALCE. Each load will be released to the AACG for return to unit control at the holding area. The chalk leader or troop commander will perform the following:

  • Provide assistance to the loadmaster.
  • Comply with instructions from the off-load team chief when unlashing and off-loading from the aircraft.
  • Ensure that all aircraft tie-down equipment is returned to the TALCE.
  • Retain all shoring and dunnage for redeployment.
  • Provide one copy of the passenger and cargo manifests to the AACG.

The AACG will perform the following:

  • Maintain coordination with the deploying unit and TALCE representative.
  • Provide off-load teams and support equipment as required.
  • Accept each planeload from the TALCE at the established RP.
  • Remove shoring and dunnage from the aircraft and transfer it to the unit.

The TALCE will perform the following:

  • Advise the AACG of the airflow and expected arrival of aircraft.
  • Plan and supervise aircraft parking.
  • Receive passenger and cargo manifests from the aircraft loadmaster.
  • Supervise off-loading the aircraft, including removal of shoring and dunnage.
  • Provide all MHE and special off-loading equipment including operators, as required, in accordance with AR 59-105/AFR 76-7 and agreements established during joint planning conferences.
  • Provide ITV by reporting arrival of loads and release to the AACG.


8-9. The deploying units are responsible for providing unit liaison personnel to AACG and for assisting the AACG as required. The AACG will perform the following:

  • Coordinate with the TALCE and the deploying unit.
  • Provide support to arriving units as determined during the joint planning conference.
  • Maintain ITV of arriving loads.
  • Release aircraft load to the deploying unit commander or his representative at a predesignated location.
  • Coordinate MHE and transport of the movement of aircraft pallets to the unit marshaling area for pallet breakdown.
  • Provide fuel, oil, and minor maintenance for transported vehicles.
  • Provide emergency services to accomplish the mission.

NOTE: Units may proceed to an AAI. Soldiers and TAT equipment are transloaded from strategic airlift to tactical airlift at the APOD site. Movement procedures are generally the same as in Chapter 7. Refer to FM 55-10.


8-10. The deploying unit terminates the air movement at its marshaling area. Equipment is reconfigured for onward movement. Units will perform the following:

  • Install equipment previously removed for strategic transport.
  • Ensure that all aircraft pallets and nets are returned to the TALCE or AACG.
  • Perform required maintenance checks, including refueling.
  • Prepare and organize for movement (convoy, rail, airlift, and inland water).


8-11. When vessels arrive at the SPOD, the port commander is responsible for discharging the unit equipment, staging the equipment, maintaining control and ITV, and releasing it to the unit. Units receive this equipment and move it to a marshaling area outside of the terminal. The length of time needed to discharge a vessel depends on the type of vessel and throughput capacity of the port, influenced by availability of berths, equipment, and stevedores. Figure 8-3, shows a notional SPOD.

Figure 8-3. Notional Seaport of Embarkation


8-12. The SPOD will be commanded or contracted by MTMC (TTBde) or operated by the transportation group until MTMC can negotiate HN/commercial contracts. All SPODs must have assured communications and the capability to provide ITV of unit equipment during this phase of movement. The port operator will perform the following:

  • Prepare and update port operations plans.
  • Establish and direct port communications, safety policies, and physical security procedures.
  • Establish and maintain liaison with the USTRANSCOM representatives, port authorities, movement control organizations such as a JMC, and the logistics command.
  • Contract for interpreters.
  • Direct PSA operations.
  • Provide harbormaster functions, such as assigning anchorages and berths to arriving vessels.
  • Supervise vessel discharge.
  • Coordinate all cargo activity and discharge plans with the vessel master or his representative.
  • Receive, discharge, and transship cargo according to supported command directives.
  • Regulate military traffic within the port.
  • Task units, whether assigned, attached, or contracted, to accomplish port operations.
  • Execute port security plans in coordination with Coast Guard.
  • Compile cargo receipt and processing data in automated systems for documentation, management information, and ITV.
  • Perform liaison with arriving units.
  • Analyze terminal work load capabilities and quantify missions that may be performed by contract, HN, or military stevedore support.


8-13. The transportation command is an operational level Army unit that provides theater wide transportation services. When deployed, it has a major responsibility to open and operate seaports during contingency operations. It conducts ocean terminal operations at established and austere ports and where no port facilities exist. It is assigned to the ASCC.

8-14. The transportation command consists of soldiers, systems, and equipment required to operate a port. It employs Army standard management information systems such as ICODES, WPS, and LOGMARS. The transportation commands that perform terminal service missions includes the following:

Group Level

8-15. HHC transportation group (composite) may command two to six transportation battalions primarily performing fixed port and LOTS operations. With a contracts supervision detachment assigned, the group may perform a role similar to the TTBde in that the group may administer contract and HN terminal service operations support.

Battalion Level

8-16. Terminal service battalions and companies, crane and automated cargo accounting detachments, and various lighterage companies load and discharge cargo at either fixed ports (discharge two to four vessels at the same time) or LOTS operations (discharge two vessels at the same time) without the need for external stevedoring assistance.

Company Level

8-17. Terminal service and cargo transfer companies are the basic working units in theater terminal operations. They load and discharge vessels.


8-18. As the vessel readies for off-loading, the port commander establishes a staging area for the transshipment and accounting of equipment. He determines discharge priorities based on the supported CINC's guidance. He also assigns missions to terminal service units with support from the PSA who discharge vessels according to the port commander's priorities. He assumes custody of the cargo from the vessel master upon discharge. Equipment is then staged based on theater onward movement requirements. As unit personnel arrive in the theater, they are transported to the SPOD to assume custody of their equipment. Equipment is assembled and moved into the marshaling area.


8-19. The marshaling area is an area where units reconfigure their equipment and prepare for onward movement. It is located next to the port. Prompt clearance of cargo from the terminal is essential to the efficiency and success of the total theater logistics system. It is also necessary to avoid serious congestion in the terminal staging area. Marshaling areas should provide for the following activities and functions:

  • A central control and inspection point.
  • Security area for sensitive items.
  • Life support facilities.
  • A traffic circulation plan showing movement flow into the marshaling area and from the staging area.
  • Maintenance and fuel area for vehicles and equipment.
  • Unpacking containers and repacking cargo as secondary loads.
  • Consolidating movement requirements and submitting movement requests.
  • Emergency supplies and equipment for isolating and disposing of HAZMAT spills.

Since marshaling areas are not always available, units should be prepared to move directly into their AOs from the port staging area. When this is necessary, the marshaling area functions will have to be performed in the port staging area. This requires additional coordination with the port commander so that these activities do not interfere with discharge operations.


8-20. Transportation request procedures are required for the orderly and expeditious movement of unit equipment and supplies. The following criteria may be used to assist in the selection of modal transportation:

  • Service considerations. Provide service according to need. The theater commander's priorities and the nature of the shipment determine the need.
  • Security considerations. The type of security required for the shipment depends on the type of cargo being shipped, such as nuclear shipments, hazardous or classified cargo, or Class V shipments.
  • Political considerations. In some theaters, particularly in OOTW, some types of cargo may be of a sensitive nature to the local population. In these cases, cargo may have to stay covered at all times, be moved under the cover of darkness, or be moved by air.
  • Tactical considerations. A tactical environment will present special challenges to the MCT. Not only will it have to react to transportation assets being attacked en route, but the destination may have changed. A tactical environment may include the following:
    • Weapons of mass destruction. The threat of these weapons will be ever present. Rerouting or transloading of cargo and other protective measures are considerations for mode selection.
    • Rear area threat. CSS units are expected to defend themselves against any threat while continuing their mission.
    • Highways. Highways and bridges should be intact, passable, and able to handle the load's weight and height. Using MSRs may require convoy and/or highway clearances before committing assets.
    • Rail. Lines should be intact and off-load facilities available. Using rail assets may constitute a multimode shipment. This could mean highway assets are needed to ship the cargo from the shipper to the rail loading site and from the rail discharge point to the receiver.
    • Air. Airfields should be operational and required aircraft available. If Army air (helicopters or fixed-wing) is the selected mode, the origin MCT must obtain movement clearance before forwarding requests to the TAMCA or corps MCC for validation and mode operator tasking. If Air Force air is the selected mode, a preplanned airlift request is forwarded to the TAMCA/MCC for validation and processing. If scheduled flights have been established, the origin MCT goes directly to the ATMCT to book the cargo.


8-21. A comprehensive plan for reception at the POD and onward movement requires adherence to a step-by-step process. Initial planning should include estimating the placement of movement control elements, mode operating units, mode change units, any specialized handling requirements, and any anticipated HN assistance. During this process, the supported CINC's staff will perform the following:

  • Obtain requirements data from operational planners. This data is normally found in the TPFDL and the base plan. More information can be obtained from PERSCOM, DCSLOG, TAMMC, and J3.
  • Assess the requirements data. Ensure that all needed information is available, such as RDD, priority, equipment characteristics, and special requirements.
  • Group the data by destination area.
  • Sequence the requirements for RDD.
  • Examine each requirement for the first day. Look at the type requirement, equipment characteristics, modes servicing the destination, and any data that would affect mode selection.
  • Make mode selection for each phase of movement.
  • Select POD and onward movement sequence from POD to destination.
  • Estimate processing, assembly, and preparation for onward movement time at POD. Determine required date and time of arrival at POD.
  • Examine the onward movement sequence for all modes used and look for conflicts. Fix conflicts by either rerouting, changing modes, or rescheduling. Reconfirm that the selected route can accommodate any oversize or overweight cargo or equipment being moved.
  • Go over all special handling requirements at the POD, each transportation mode, and destination. Ensure that enough equipment is available to meet the needs at the points and times required. If not, reschedule or reroute as needed. If any changes are made, reexamine for route conflicts.
  • Examine the time phased work load at the POD and destination. Determine if the work load can reasonably be accomplished. If not, decide if the problem should be fixed by changing POD, rescheduling, or adding equipment and manpower.
  • Identify en route support requirements for fuel, mess, maintenance, and billeting. Make arrangements as needed. The TAACOM is tasked to provide this support through its regionally organized ASG.
  • Determine critical points where movement control or traffic control personnel should be positioned to keep the flow moving smoothly. Arrange for personnel to be posted with required communications assets.
  • Remember to consider equipment, such as railcars and trucks, returning from the corps areas for new missions when looking for routing/sequencing conflicts.
  • Establish collection points near the controlled routes where refugees could be expected. Have traffic control personnel or MPs remove refugees from controlled routes and take them to collection points.


8-22. When the mission dictates, large unit movements must be executed quickly. Synchronization of movements is critical because as units begin massing, they are most vulnerable. The requirements to maintain uninterrupted transportation to supported units in conjunction with a tactical move requires continuous coordination. The senior movement control organization, such as the TAMCA, will be the primary coordinator for the movement. The TAMCA may assign the mission of the traffic management function to one of its subordinate movement control elements. The corps MCC, DTO, and TAMCA will control routes in their respective areas. Using routes outside each agency's area of influence must be coordinated with the owning organization. The unit must obtain the following information early in the planning process:

  • The priorities for movement as established by the J3/G3 and the required arrival times.
  • The current location of the moving forces.
  • The assembly areas at destination.
  • The marshaling areas, if any.
  • Special en route supply requirements.
  • The order of march by type and density of the force.
  • The military load classification of each route (to find a route that will accommodate the load).
  • The time of movement (day or night).
  • Transportation support requirements.

Calculations can be made in advance for each type of unit. For instance, the road space, time gaps, and so on, can be precalculated.

8-23. Upon notification of a planned move, the TAMCA starts with the origin, destination, and the time available for move and then examines the road network available to support the move. After determining how many routes are available, routes are allocated according to the equipment moved, priorities, and time requirements. Unit movement schedules are then prepared by units and submitted to movement control elements. The HN may control MSR access through the civil and MP organizations. If so, the TAMCA obtains clearance for use of the selected routes from the HN territorial authorities before distributing the movement schedules. After preparing the movement schedules, the TAMCA examines routes and road movement tables and determines the critical points where traffic control must be established. Air defense and fire support are arranged as soon as the routes and times are determined.

8-24. Requests for additional transportation support are submitted to supporting MCTs. The MCT commits transportation assets. Units tasked then provide the support directly with the moving units.

8-25. Priorities may change because of the tactical situation. All transportation movement information is compiled in an annex of the OPLAN. Refer to FM 55-10 for further information on movement planning and control.

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