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OBSERVATION: A well-planned and properly resourced divisional liaison team provided effective coordination of unit moves.

DISCUSSION: The purpose of the liaison team was to:

  • Facilitate the safe and timely processing of soldiers and equipment through the port.
  • Ensure ships were loaded IAW the Commander's Intent.
  • Resolve problems/make decisions as necessary.
  • Keep command group and participating units informed.

The Commander's Intent was to:

  • Establish a "controlled" environment in which soldiers were accounted and cared for during their time at the seaport of embarkation (SPOE).
  • Maintain unit integrity on the ship, when possible.
  • Resolve issues at the port.
  • Keep Command group informed.
  • Assist the port support activity (PSA) in fixing vehicles to ensure combat serviceability, if necessary.

Personnel staffing of the Liaison Team included:

  • Team Leader. . . . . COL/LTC
  • Assist Tm Ldr. . . . MAJ (from G3 Ops)
  • NCOIC. . . . . . . . . . SFC (from G3 Ops)
  • Admin NCO. . . . . . SGT/SSG

Deployment Communications included:

  • Secure fax
  • Toll-free number
  • Secure cellular phone
  • LAO/AMC (Maint) on call
  • Dedicated UH-1 reserved for C2.

The Liaison Team Leader collocated and intertaced with the port support activity (PSA). PSA functions included:

  • Staging area ops
  • Planning railhead off-load ops
  • Maintaining security (largely contracted by the Port Authority)
  • Monitoring ship schedules
  • Monitoring ship loading by TTU and longshoremen.

Marshaling Area functions included:

  • Receiving convoys
  • Refueling vehicles
  • Performing org/DS maint before staging
  • Prestaging vehicles by unit or type
  • Messing at assembly area
  • Providing administrative support

LESSON(S): Use this list as a guide for planning.

OBSERVATION: CSS assets were not integrated amongst combat equipment in the movement plan.

DISCUSSION: Logistics assets and resources should be scheduled for movement with maneuver assets in convoy, rail and air outloads. When the logistics assets of a major unit (such as the DISCOM) are confined to one or two ships, logistics support may not be available for equipment on other ships, especially if the ship with the logistics resources is delayed or lost en route. Logistics support is normally needed to clear units from the congested port area.

LESSON(S): Integrate CSS assets with combat and CS elements in the movement scheme. When CSS assets are dispersed among several ship loads, logistics support is immediately available for each ship's equipment at the seaport of debarkation (SPOD).

OBSERVATION: The division planned rail and convoy movements in equipment increments of 100,000 square feet. The increments were also color-coded to facilitate assembling equipment in the marshaling area and prestaging equipment in the staging area where it would be called forward for ship loading. The division planned a total of 13 increments, including both rail and convoy.

DISCUSSION: Convoys were led by field grade officers in each serial and captains in each march unit. Typically, there were four march units per serial and about 25 vehicles per march unit. Serial and march unit commanders accounted for their personnel at the two rest stops, the refueling point and at the PSA. Every march unit and serial commander was debriefed by the Liaison Team Leader. Convoy personnel were then given box lunches, loaded on waiting buses, and headed back to home station usually within 30 minutes of arrival at the PSA.

The Liaison Team Leader communicated useful techniques, procedures and lessons to home station or the refueling point as appropriate. For example, fuel levels of the 2,500- and 5,000-gallon tankers that were convoyed to the port had to be adjusted to a maximum of three-fourths full for ship loading. This limitation was directed by the U. S. Coast Guard, which has final say on the configuration of equipment being loaded for shipment. Since the bulk tankers were being topped off at the en route refueling point, the PSA had to defuel them to three-fourths full. This was communicated to the refuel point and adjustment was made so that tankers were not filled above the three-fourths level.

LESSON(S): When they are properly resourced and given specific mission instructions, liaison teams are highly effective in facilitating deployment operations.

OBSERVATION: A Directorate of Logistics (DOL) was given the convoy support mission but lacked vehicle recovery capability in its TDA.

DISCUSSION: During convoy operations on an interstate highway, an accident occured severely damaging an Army vehicle. Local law enforcement officials wanted the wreckage cleared off the interstate immediately. The convoy coordinator did not want to contract with a commercial wrecker service to tow the damaged vehicle to the port but had no lowboy or wrecker to effect recovery. The convoy support element "borrowed" a lowboy left behind at the port by another unit tagged "Do Not Ship," recovered the damaged vehicle and returned the lowboy to the port staging area.

LESSON(S): Provide the convoy support element and the PSA with the capability to recover any type of vehicle which might become disabled en route or at the port.

OBSERVATION: An installation's Directorate of Logistics (DOL) was given the convoy support mission but lacked sufficient communication resources to track convoys en route to the seaport of embarkation (SPOE).

DISCUSSION: The DOL's TDA did not contain the communication capability needed to track convoys over several hundred miles. The route had two rest stops, one refueling point, and six transportation control points (TCPs). The only update was at the refueling point, although a cellular phone was added at the second rest stop. The TCPs had no communication capability.

In previous REFORGER exercises, activated RC units provided TCPs (with communication) which increased convoy visibility along the route. These units were not activated for Operation DESERT SHIELD.

LESSON(S): Ensure adequate communicationcapability is available to track convoys over extended distances.

OBSERVATION: The PSA lacked some resources to perform maintenance.

DISCUSSION: Vehicle repair at the port is an important support mission in any deployment. This mission is often unique because maintenance tasks are performed in unfamiliar facilities sometimes hundreds of miles away from home station.

LESSON(s): During planning, develop a provisional support package for the PSA mission that includes the resources needed for the deployment surge, with requisitioning authority equal to that of the contingency force being deployed.

Ensure required maintenance resources are available or maintenance will be delayed.

Include -20 and -30 series maintenance manuals, especially parts manuals (20P/35P), and a stockage of critical parts.

Use experience from previous deployments, along with normal demand experience, as baseline data for maintenance and repair parts requirements at the port.

OBSERVATION: The (leased) convoy reception and marshaling areas at one port had a relatively thin blacktop surface over ground which lacked a deep gravel base to support the weight of tactical vehicles.

DISCUSSION: The traffic of numerous convoys, coupled with several days of heavy rain, destroyed the surface of the vehicle reception and marshaling areas. This resulted in extensive "maneuver damage," requiring restitution by the U.S. Army to the port authority.

LESSON(S): Vehicle reception and marshaling areas at the port should be hardstands capable of withstanding tactical vehicle operations in all weather conditions.

OBSERVATION: The helicopter landing area at one port staging area was large enough to receive and process four helicopters at a time; however, one side was obstructed by power lines.


LESSON(S): Helicopter landing areas should be free of power lines and other flight obstructions, if possible. Any wires in the vicinity should be marked with the bright orange warning balls designed for this purpose. Helicopter landing areas need a hard surface so that aircraft can be processed and then towed or ground-handled to the port for loading regardless of weather conditions.

OBSERVATION:Some vehicles did not have the necessary tiedown shackles installed when they arrived at the railhead.

DISCUSSION: Units that have trained at the Combat Training Centers (CTCs) are familiar with loading out on DODX railcars which come with shackles and O-rings. When the railload is off-loaded, however, the DODX railcars retain the railcar tiedown shackles and O-rings. During Operation DESERT SHIELD, this situation lest some vehicles without the necessary tiedown hardware to lash them securely aboard ship.

LESSON(S): Vehicles without hardened steel tiedown shackles (clevis and pin) are nondeployable. Get them installed before loadout or the unit will be nondeployable at the railhead or the port.

Include shackles in each vehicle's essential equipment list or basic issue items.

Shackles are pilferable, so carry extras.

OBSERVATION: Key control of rail-loaded equipment was a problem for deploying units.

DISCUSSION: Locks securing vehicle steering mechanisms were Cut at the port railhead to off-load equipment.

LESSON(S): Give the keys to the NCOIC accompanying the rail shipment to avoid cutting locks unnecessarily at the port. Giving keys to nonunit personnel increases the likelihood that locks will have to be cut at the port railhead.

Table of Contents
Transportation Management
Command and Control (C2)

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