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Multifunctional Medium Heavy Transportation Company

The author presents a case for creating a transportation company that combines the elements of three separate companies within a support battalion.

Iam assigned to the 68th Corps Support Battalion, 43d Area Support Group, at Fort Carson, Colorado. The battalion’s transportation assets consist of three transportation companies: a palletized load system (PLS) company, a bulk petroleum company, and a heavy equipment transporter (HET) company headquarters with a HET platoon and maintenance assets. I believe that all of these transportation assets could be replaced by one multifunctional medium heavy transportation company.

A multifunctional medium heavy transportation company would consist of three PLS platoons and one HET platoon. One of the PLS platoons would operate flatracks and container-handling units. Another PLS platoon would consist of two squads: one to conduct flatrack and container-handling unit operations and one to carry potable water using 3,000-gallon tank and pump modules. The third PLS platoon would carry bulk petroleum using 3,000-gallon tank and pump modules. With this configuration, one company could transport all classes of supply.

NTC Deployment Woes

The 68th Corps Support Battalion deployed in 2002 to the National Training Center (NTC) at Fort Irwin, California, to support the 3d Brigade Combat Team (BCT), 4th Infantry Division (Mechanized). To meet the supply requirements of the 3d BCT, elements from three different companies delivered logistics packages. My company—the PLS company— delivered classes I (subsistence), III (P) (packaged petroleum products), IV (construction and barrier materials), and V (ammunition). The bulk petroleum company handled class III (bulk), and the HET platoon moved heavy equipment.

This delivery method posed many problems for me as a platoon leader. I was given a supply mission and told which transportation systems would be required. However, the companies had not trained together the way they would fight. In garrison, we had trained collectively as a platoon and company, but, at NTC, we conducted missions on a battalion level. The problem lay in the fact that I did not know the equipment or the soldiers I was asked to lead in the missions. We lacked cohesion because we had never trained together. This problem could be eliminated with the formation of an organic company such as a multifunctional medium heavy transportation company.

A Solution

I believe the multifunctional medium heavy transportation company concept has many advantages. Since many operations do not require the support of
an entire company’s assets, most truck transportation platoons are designed to deploy independently of their companies. They link up with other truck platoons in order to meet all the supply requirements of the unit they will be supporting. A multifunctional medium heavy transportation company could deploy as a cohesive unit and be more efficient at conducting operations.

Another advantage of a multifunctional medium heavy transportation company would be a smaller logistics signature. Manpower requirements could be shifted from combat service support to warfighting. A multifunctional medium heavy transportation company also would save money. The Army could replace transportation systems with modules adapted to the PLS. Replacing transportation systems with one vehicle also would reduce the lines of repair parts that the Army would be required to stock.

Having a unit that trains together and is ready to provide transportation support to the support battalion would improve the service provided while reducing the logistics footprint. I believe the Transportation Corps should explore this concept.

First Lieutenant Joseph P. Corrigan, Jr., is a platoon leader in the 32d Transportation Company, 68th Combat Support Battalion, at Fort Carson, Colorado. He has a bachelor’s degree in business administration from William Paterson College in New Jersey and a bachelor’s degree in health and physical education from the University of Indianapolis and is a graduate of Officer Candidate School and the Transportation Officer Basic Course.

Multifunctional Medium Heavy Transportation Company
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