599th Transportation conducts port operations at Pearl Harbor

| June 5, 2015 | 0 Comments
USNS Pfc. Eugene A. Obregon at Pearl Harbor

USNS Pfc. Eugene A. Obregon at Pearl Harbor

Donna Klapakis
599th Transportation Brigade Public Affairs

PEARL HARBOR — The 599th Transportation Brigade, stationed at Wheeler Army Airfield, conducted port operations on the USNS Pfc. Eugene A. Obregon, here, May 24-26.

The brigade and a four-person deployment and distribution management team (DDMT) from the 836th Transportation Battalion and the Guam Detachment teamed up with Fleet Logistics Center Pearl Harbor, the Navy’s Military Sealift Command, 10 members of Navy Reserve cargo handling battalions in South Carolina and Florida, and 25th Infantry Division’s Port Support Activity to offload the vessel after 2015 Pacific Pathways operations.


A Stryker disembarks from the USNS Pfc. Eugene A. Obregon as it returns to Hawaii.

Lt. Col. Joshua Vogel, commander of the 836th Transportation Battalion, led the DDMT.

“The Obregon was scheduled to arrive at noon, but it didn’t get in until 6:30 p.m., May 24,” Vogel said, “so we didn’t get started with the actual offloading until Memorial Day morning.

“But the 25th ID had 60 supercargoes on board. They had already unlashed everything by the time the first helicopter came off the ramp. That saved us a lot of time,” he added.

Supercargo is a shipping term for people employed by the owner of freight onboard a cargo ship who ride along and help with the freight during the voyage.

James Luxemburg, 836th Trans. Bn. information technology specialist, provided IT support during the move.

“When we first got in, we came over to upload the GATES (Global Air Transportation Execution System) program at Pearl Harbor with information we had gotten from the 835th Transportation Battalion in Okinawa,” said Luxemburg.

Soldiers and port operations personnel get a helicopter ready to offload from the USNS Pfc. Eugene A. Obregon during port operations, May 26, at Pearl Harbor.

Soldiers and port operations personnel get a helicopter ready to offload from the USNS Pfc. Eugene A. Obregon during port operations, May 26, at Pearl Harbor.

“We also had to work on the handheld scanners to ensure communication to the GATES server. Only about half of the scanners were working with the server when we got here, so we used the time waiting for the ship to get in to get them up and running,” he said.

Frank Viray, traffic management specialist, was the chief of operations at the port for the 599th operations section.

“We didn’t have any real issues with this offload,” Viray said. “After all was said and done, we only had one fuel tanker deadlined that was stowed in a location; it couldn’t be lifted off the ship. We used teamwork to get it down the ramp and send it back to Schofield Barracks for repairs.”

“We knew some equipment would be deadlined when it arrived,” said Vogel. “It had been gone from the unit to three different exercises and for five months, so a lot can and will go wrong with rolling stock when it can’t undergo normal maintenance in that amount of time.

“The 835th Transportation Battalion in Okinawa did a great job loading the ship so that we could offload it easier. We have instituted VTCs with them anytime we pitch and catch a move, so we know what we are getting and where it is stowed.

“We let the 25th ID know what was deadlined, and they had good maintenance assets here at the port to get everything running again,” Vogel added.

During its five months away from home, the 25th ID cargo had traveled throughout the Pacific.

Below decks

Below decks

The cargo that was finally offloaded May 25 first left Hawaii in early January onboard the USNS Sgt. Matej Kocak en route to Okinawa. After the 835th Trans. Bn. added Army and Marine Corps cargo to the load in Okinawa, the Kocak left for its first exercise. It ran aground on a reef within 10 miles of setting sail from Okinawa.

The Obregon arrived in Okinawa Feb. 28 to relieve its sister ship. It first picked up everything that had sailed on the Kocak from Hawaii and Okinawa, then traveled to South Korea twice for deployment and redeployment of Foal Eagle and Key Resolve exercises.


After the exercises in South Korea, the Obregon returned to Okinawa to drop off and pick up more equipment. It then sailed to Subic Bay in the Republic of the Philippines twice for deployment and redeployment of the Balikatan exercise.

Before returning to Hawaii, the Obregon made one last stop in Okinawa to offload Army and Marine Corps cargo there.

The team offloaded the last piece of cargo here, May 26, at 11:35 a.m., and the vessel sailed at 1:30 p.m., Viray said.


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