In an era where consumers can click a button online and get products in mere days or less, it's easy to ignore the complexity of the system that permits that doorstep delivery. When it comes to the US military, the requirements to move materiel and people halfway around the world get even more complicated.
It takes significant effort to move thousands of US Army soldiers and thousands more pieces of equipment--including tanks and other vehicles--from a place like Fort Carson in Colorado Springs, Colorado, to Europe. The 4th Infantry Division's 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team recently did just that, arriving at Bremerhaven, Germany, in January and continuing to Poland to participate in US European Command's Operation Atlantic Resolve. The ongoing operation "is a demonstration of continued US commitment to collective security through a series of actions designed to reassure NATO allies ... in light of the Russian intervention in Ukraine," according to the Army.
What kind of organization and planning are behind moving a unit like the 3rd ABCT across the Atlantic? I had the opportunity in early December to talk with transportation and logistics experts at Fort Carson about the then-upcoming deployment. The following interview includes perspectives from Maj. Colton Kinninger, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team; Maj. Johnny Ward, 68th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion (CSSB), 4th Sustainment Brigade; Mr. Jim Will, Installation Transportation Officer, Logistics Readiness Center; and Mr. Danny Visitacion, Logistics Readiness Center lead transportation specialist. It is lightly edited for length and clarity.
DTJ: I appreciate all of you taking the time to interview today. To start out, could you provide some background on what your responsibilities entail, particularly as they relate to deploying the 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team?
Maj. Kinninger: I'm the brigade S4 (Logistics) for the 3rd Brigade. What falls within my section are my mobility warrant officer and my transportation NCO [non-commissioned officer]. Both of those individuals really provide the technical knowledge about deploying the brigade. My responsibility is the overall supervision of that effort and synchronizing across the brigade in coordination with the brigade operations officer.
Mr. Will: I'm the installation transportation officer, and Danny Visitacion is my transportation lead. We are responsible for coordinating with the unit on the equipment density list they have, coordinating everything to be able to put in on line haul or rail, and movement to the port of debarkation.
Maj. Ward: I'm the support operations officer for the 68th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion and the 4th Sustainment Brigade here at Fort Carson. I'm responsible for the planning and execution of the strategic support missions for all the brigade combat teams here on the installation. My organization is responsible for materiel handling equipment, lift and transportation support, and also maintenance support in order for brigades to have a successful deployment out of...