The 169th Cargo Transfer Company is attached
to the 867th Corps Support Battalion, 15th Sustainment Brigade,
for its Operation Iraqi Freedom deployment. Originally a port
operations cargo company, the 169th deployed as a cargo transfer
company (CTC) in early September 2006. To address this change
of mission, unit leaders had to train and qualify new Soldiers
straight out of advanced individual training as military occupational
specialty (MOS) 88H cargo handlers and in other MOSs. The 169th
conducted driver’s training courses and classes on the
materials-handling equipment (MHE) that the unit would be operating
while in theater.
The 169th CTC established a new central receiving and shipping
point (CRSP) at Al Asad Air Base in Anbar Province, Iraq, in
October 2006. My platoon, the 4th Platoon, was key in operating
the CRSP. The new CRSP has helped to improve in-transit visibility
and prevent cargo losses, and the once-inexperienced Soldiers
have now evolved into seasoned MHE operators; their skill has
proved to be important given the volume of work performed in
the CRSP yard.
Once the CRSP layout was complete, the 169th developed a one-way
traffic pattern to control the flow of movement inside the
CRSP yard. The CTC replaced the existing two-way entry control
point with one entrance point and one exit point. New screening
lanes were put in place in order to better identify incoming
and outgoing cargo. The new layout resulted in a definite increase
in productivity and a significant decrease in pilferage.
The 4th Platoon’s CTC missions include receiving, staging,
documenting, and coordinating the upload and download of all
unit equipment arriving in theater or departing for redeployment.
The 169th provides supply support to seven forward operating
bases (FOBs). Each FOB has its own cargo-staging lane in the
CRSP. CRSP personnel use staging lanes to designate where cargo
goes after it is downloaded. The CRSP yard also has a frustrated
lane for cargo that arrives with no paperwork or point of contact
and a holding lane for cargo destined to stay at Al Asad.
In order to operate the CRSP 24 hours a day, the 4th Platoon
of the 169th CTC is split into two shifts. Most operators and
the key leaders work during the day since most of the work
and meetings take place then. To run a highly efficient yard
in support of the outlying FOBs, the unit has developed a strong
maintenance plan for keeping all of the MHE operational. The
MHE, consisting of three Kalmars, two 10,000-pound forklifts,
and one 6,000-pound forklift, go through a lot of stress during
24-hour operations, and most of the MHE is on its third or
fourth rotation. Because of this, CRSP personnel conduct preventive
maintenance checks and services every 12 hours.
A transportation movement request is used to identify each
piece of cargo that arrives at the CRSP yard. This lets the
operators know who sent the cargo, where it is going, and to
whom it is being sent. Once identified, Soldiers stage the
cargo in the lane designated for the FOB to which it will be
shipped. CRSP personnel then attend a daily meeting at the
battalion headquarters to help schedule a convoy to pick up
the cargo, and then they remove the cargo from the yard’s
Kellogg, Brown, and Root (KBR) contractors operate the CRSP
yard’s air sustainment cell. KBR works with the Navy
to palletize all cargo going by air on 463L pallets and stage
it for pickup.
Daily reports include a classified CRSP report that is sent
to the battalion support operations office to let them know
what has been physically inventoried in the CRSP yard. This
report helps in designating trucks for cargo pickup. The operations
section updates the Container Management Support Tool report.
This report is helpful in determining which containers are
Government owned and which are leased. Cargo handlers give
priority to emptying leased containers so that they can be
sent back to Kuwait before the lease expires.
The 169th conducted a relief in place and transfer of authority
of the CRSP with KBR early this year. Although operating the
CRSP and developing a transfer of authority plan bring forth
many challenges, they serve as a great learning experience
for the 169th CTC. Most of our customers represent
the Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Department of Defense
civilians. Therefore, this has provided the first opportunity
for most of our Soldiers to work in a joint environment.
First Lieutenant Robert D. Gunning, Jr., is a platoon leader
in the 169th Cargo Transfer Company at Al Asad Air Base, Iraq.
He holds a bachelor’s degree in health, exercise, and
sports science from The Citadel and is a graduate of the Transportation
Officer Basic Course, the Unit Movement Officer Course, and
the Support Operations Course, Phase I.