599th Trans. Bde. provides transportation throughout Pacific

| December 21, 2016 | 0 Comments
Air Force and Navy personnel work together to finish loading a light medium tactical vehicle lifted by the rear crane on the Ocean Glory at Pearl Harbor on June 1. (Photo Credit: Donna Klapakis,, 599th Transportation Brigade Public Affairs))

Air Force and Navy personnel work together to finish loading a light medium tactical vehicle lifted by the rear crane on the Ocean Glory at Pearl Harbor on June 1. (Photo by Donna Klapakis, 599th Transportation Brigade Public Affairs))

Story and photos by
Donna Klapakis 
599th Transportation Brigade Public Affairs

WHEELER ARMY AIRFIELD — The 599th Transportation Brigade, its battalions and partners worked as a team throughout 2016 to book and provide surface transportation for all military units throughout the Pacific.

From Jan. 1-Dec. 1, the 599th and its subordinate battalions throughout the Pacific imported 24,551,696 pieces of cargo totaling 361,362 tons and exported 508,156 pieces, totaling 122,547 tons, according to Christopher Heiby of Surface Deployment and Distribution Command, or SDDC.

Total imported and exported cargo equals about 69 Aloha Stadiums weighing in at 14 million pounds.

Photo by Donna Klapakis, 599th Transportation Brigade Public Affairs

Photo by Donna Klapakis, 599th Transportation Brigade Public Affairs

“This has been a very exciting year for the brigade,” said Col. James Smith, 599th commander. “We have taken our collective training focus to new heights. We’ve strengthened partnerships, closed many gaps and seams, and we are absolutely positioned to provide the best transportation services to the geographic combatant commander.”

The brigade’s first operation of 2016 began as cargo and equipment moved from Pearl Harbor en route to Okinawa and later to Busan, South Korea, in support of Pacific Pathways 16-1, which combined exercises Key Resolve, Foal Eagle, Cobra Gold and Balikatan.

With help from the 599th’s subordinate battalions, the 836th and 837th Trans. Battalions, and Fleet Logistics Center (FLC), Pearl Harbor, the USNS Maj. S.W. Pless departed Pearl Harbor on Jan. 6 in support of Pacific Pathways 16-1.

In January, the 599th also hosted key leaders from the 1394th Reserve Trans. Bde. at Camp Pendleton, California. The two brigades made plans for later combined operations under the total force integration concept.

Photo by Donna Klapakis, 599th Transportation Brigade Public Affairs

Photo by Donna Klapakis, 599th Transportation Brigade Public Affairs

“We have planned multiple engagements over the next year that will build readiness, exercise our deployment, reception and integration functions, and provide opportunities to evaluate our training objectives,” said Smith.

Although initial meetings exceeded expectations, in January the two units were not yet at a point at which they could begin integrated operations.

During February, every year, the 599th sends active and reserve personnel to South Korea for its springtime computer-assisted exercise Key Resolve. This year the brigade stood up Combined Seaport Coordination Center in Busan, South Korea, and Japan Seaport Coordination Center in Yokohama North Dock, Japan. Brigade headquarters Command Operations Center also participated, and a member of the brigade acted as SDDC representative in Seoul.

Beginning mid-March and running through mid-July, the 599th Trans. Bde. shipped 28 Stryker vehicles a week from the Port of Honolulu to the Pacific Northwest in support of 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division’s conversion to light infantry.

Loading of Javelin Missiles onto HMNZS Te Kaha at the Naval Magazine, Pearl Harbor. (Photo by Donna Klapakis, 599th Transportation Brigade Public Affairs)

Loading of Javelin Missiles onto HMNZS Te Kaha at the Naval Magazine, Pearl Harbor. (Photo by Donna Klapakis, 599th Transportation Brigade Public Affairs)

The vehicles were loaded on special racks at Schofield Barracks’ East Range and transported to the Matson terminal for shipping. In all, 320 vehicles were shipped.

“The Stryker Brigade Combat Team reset brought together key logistics players from 25th Infantry Division, SDDC, and Army Materiel Command for coordinated movement of 320 Stryker vehicles via Matson Navigation, which provided seamless door-to-door transportation,” said John Fisher, Pacific Sealift Management Office chief.

In April, brigade headquarters conducted several moves. From April 8-11, the unit supported the 25th Combat Aviation Brigade deployment to the National Training Center.

On April 20, the 599th team acted as single port manager for the 523rd Engineer Co.’s South Korea rotation. On April 22, the brigade provided oversight for 2nd Squadron, 6th Cavalry Regiment, 25th CAB, re-stationing during concurrent offloading operations for Apache helicopters and support equipment from the Port of Honolulu.

The brigade also maintained training for its personnel during the spring.

Photo by Donna Klapakis, 599th Transportation Brigade Public Affairs

Photo by Donna Klapakis, 599th Transportation Brigade Public Affairs

During April and May, the headquarters conducted stow-planning and cargo documentation courses at Pearl Harbor for personnel across the brigade and FLC.

At the Rim of the Pacific exercise in July, a member of the brigade was able to facilitate movement of foreign military sales cargo to New Zealand on board a New Zealand Navy frigate that was here for the exercise. Before coming up with this solution, the cargo had been frustrated on the mainland for several months.

From Aug. 12 to Sept. 2, the brigade active and reserve components once again stood up the Combined Seaport Coordination Center and Japan Seaport Coordination Center in support of exercise Ulchi Freedom Guardian.

During December, the total force integration planning a unit had begun in January paid off, as elements of the 1394th Trans. Bde. worked with the 599th during staging operations.

Photo by Donna Klapakis, 599th Transportation Brigade Public Affairs

Photo by Donna Klapakis, 599th Transportation Brigade Public Affairs

The 599th Trans. Bde.  is SDDC’s arm in the Pacific. The brigade is headquartered on Wheeler. With battalions on Okinawa, mainland Japan and Korea, and detachments in Singapore and Guam, it is strategically located to cover all surface movement within the Pacific area of operations.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Category: News, Year in Review

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *