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I would like to comment on the story in your March–April 2004 issue titled “Improving Equipment Management With Triple Containers.” First Lieutenant Nathan D. Williams wrote an excellent story on the use of the TRICON in the 110th Quartermaster Company.

For nearly 12 years, until 1995, my company, Willbros Operating Services, Inc., was the engineer and systems integrator of the Inland Petroleum Distribution System (IPDS). After Desert Storm, we sent all of our operational project stocks to Sierra Army Depot, California. Working with the Project Manager for Petroleum and Water Logistics, we reconfigured the entire system into more manageable packages. The goal was to create a truly intermodal system in order to move items without the need for special handling and the additional time and expense of packing and repacking.

The TRICONs were an important part of this repackaging effort, primarily for the large amounts of 6-inch hose that we used. Hose is an item with special requirements because it often needs to be laid over tight, rugged terrain. The TRICONs fit this task well. We moved the TRICONs as far forward as possible in connected 20-foot units that could be handled with a rough-terrain container handler (RTCH) or crane. However, once in the field, the TRICONs were disconnected so they could be moved with 10,000-pound forklifts. To do this, we had the specifications written so the TRICON would have fork pockets on three sides. The forklift then could pick up the TRICON from the rear, and we would open and latch back the front doors. The layers of hose then could be payed out as the forklift backed over the terrain. A TRICON is about the same width as the forklift, so the forklift, in effect, cleared the way for the hose. The hose was packed inside the TRICON in layers divided by I-inch plywood with adjustable braces. As a layer of hose was unloaded, we would stop and make the connection and then continue paying out the next layer of hose. After use and evacuation, soldiers could repack the hose by reversing the procedure. We packed five layers of 6-inch hose for a total of 2,500 feet per TRICON, or 7,500 feet per connected assembly. With 4-inch fuel system supply point (FSSP) hose, the 110th or other units could get even more hose into their containers.
The purchase description we used was PD 8115–0101 for a TRICON with the national stock number (NSN) 8145–01–389–9184. This unit includes document boxes, optional storage shelves on the door to hold the connectors, three connectors, and three-way fork pockets that allow a forklift to pick it up from the back and pay out hose. The floor is specified to be steel diamond plate, so it is very sturdy. The TRICONs must meet all conventions for safe containers so they can be accepted worldwide for intermodal shipment. This requirement is referenced in Field Manual (FM) 42–424, Quartermaster Force Provider Company. Technical Manual (TM) 55–8145–203–13&P, Operator’s, Unit, and Direct Support Maintenance Manual (Including Repair Parts and Special Tool List) for Cargo Container, TRICON, is available for operators and unit maintenance personnel.

We used connectors provided by Tandemloc, part #12900BA–1PZ, as they were very reliable and allowed no sag when connected. A 9⁄16-inch socket or wrench was needed to attach or detach the units and could be stored with the connectors inside the TRICON.

This is an excellent method for maximizing intermodal logistics functions and allows for true field utility by breaking down into smaller, more useful packages. Good luck to Lieutenant Williams and others who can capitalize on this concept.

Steve Bump
Tulsa, Oklahoma