599th Trans covers Pacific Pathways across two oceans

| October 10, 2014 | 0 Comments
Photo by the 836th Transportation Battalion A DDMT from the 836th Trans. Bn. based in  Japan and the Guam Detachment conduct port operations, Sept. 27, at Kuantan, Malaysia, for Keris Strike, an exercise that was part of the Pacific Pathways operation. The battalion and detachment are part of the 599th Trans. Bde.

Photo by the 836th Transportation Battalion
A DDMT from the 836th Trans. Bn. based in Japan and the Guam Detachment conduct port operations, Sept. 27, at Kuantan, Malaysia, for Keris Strike, an exercise that was part of the Pacific Pathways operation. The battalion and detachment are part of the 599th Trans. Bde.

Donna Klapakis
599th Transportation Brigade Public Affairs

The Pacific arm of Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command, the 599th Transportation Brigade, is providing strategic sealift to the Pacific Pathways operation.

The brigade has three battalions and two detachments strategically placed in the Pacific and Indian oceans for efficient service.A1_Pacific_Pathways_IMG_0945_001_w

“Our strategic role in the operation is threefold,” said Col. Shannon Cox, 599th commander. “The 599th assisted in the initial planning and concept for Pacific Pathways with USARPAC (U.S. Army-Pacific) and 8th Theater Sustainment Command.

“Second, in conjunction with SDDC headquarters, we coordinate with Military Sealift Command for vessel selection, and we conduct customer liaison,” Cox continued. “Third, our deployment and distribution management teams (DDMT) document cargo and perform single port manager functions during vessel upload and discharge.”

Daniel Martinez, 599th deputy director of operations, explained how Pacific Pathways differs from movements the brigade has undertaken in the past.

“It differs in two main ways,” Martinez said. “First, each iteration of Pacific Pathways is an overlay of multiple exercises. Second, since one vessel is being used for all of the exercises in each pathway, this allows our supporting DDMTs to play pitch and catch with the unit cargo as it transits each exercise. Usually we have one vessel handle deployment and another for redeployment, and often use different vessels for each exercise.

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“This concept is unique for our customer in that they are better postured for anything that might arise in the area of operations, and it allows us to establish lines of communication in areas we have not been to before,” Martinez added.

The 599th headquarters is not co-located with a battalion, so it does not have the capability to field a DDMT from Hawaii. Because of this, DDMTs from the 836th Trans. Bn. in Japan and its Guam Detachment, with support from the 599th, provided teams to fulfill the 599th’s role of single port manager in Hawaii. The 836th has conducted five upload and discharge missions for Pacific Pathways, so far. In addition to handling all missions in Malaysia and Hawaii, it will send a DDMT to Tomakomai, Japan, for Orient Shield port operations.

In addition to the support the 836th has provided, the 835th Trans. Bn., stationed in Okinawa, Japan, acted as single port manager for Garuda Shield in Indonesia.

The commander of the 836th Trans. Bn., Lt. Col. Joshua Vogel, said Pacific Pathways has given the unit’s DDMTs an opportunity to demonstrate they can upload and discharge at the same time, over great distances, and in many countries.

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“Our biggest lesson learned, so far, is the importance of planning and communications with everyone involved, down to the liaisons and unit movement officers and up to our strategic partner of Military Sealift Command,” Vogel said. “We have learned how big a role everyone plays in a successful movement.

Vogel said, from his perspective, the most important change in DDMT operations for Pacific Pathways is uploading and offloading the same ship repeatedly.

The 599th has also grown in its relationships as a result of Pacific Pathways.

“From the 599th perspective, this operation has facilitated relation-building with the host-nation port authorities and with understanding the unique culture and assets in those host nations,” Martinez said.

 

Pacific Pathways

The 599th Trans. Bde. has supported Pacific Pathways from the beginning. Pacific Pathways is a USARPAC enterprise to effect the Army’s rebalance to the Pacific.

The first three exercises to test the concept are Garuda Shield in Indonesia (see related story this week), Keris Strike in Malaysia, and Orient Shield in Japan.

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Category: Deployed Forces, Exercises, News

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