to 5-Ton Cargo Trucks
|by Colonel Neal H. Bralley, USA (Ret.)
Only the authorized method should be used to
secure storage and equipment shelters to 5-ton cargo trucks.
During a recent visit to observe training at the Joint Multinational
Readiness Center in Hohenfels, Germany, I noted that many shelters
were incorrectly secured to military 5-ton tactical cargo vehicles.
The units were using many types of tiedowns to secure their
shelters. “Why is the type of tiedown used important?” you
ask. That is a fair question; after all, the items had made
their way to the training area without incident. However, there
is only one correct way to secure shelters, such as the S–280C/G
electrical equipment shelter, to 5-ton cargo vehicles.
be mounted to 5-ton trucks using the method illustrated
at right. (Drawing from TM 10–5411–207–14)
The correct tiedown method is explained in several publications—
- Military Traffic Management Command Transportation Engineering Agency
(MTMCTEA) Pamphlet 55≠20, Tiedown Handbook for Truck Movements.
- Technical Manual (TM) 10≠5411≠207≠14, Operatorís, Unit, Direct Support,
and General Support Maintenance Manual for Shelter, Electrical Equipment S≠280C/G.
- TM 11≠5411≠216≠14&P, Operator, Unit, Direct Support (DS), and General
Support (GS) Maintenance Manual for Electronic Equipment Storage Shelters: S≠744/TSM≠191
Each publication calls for the use of a steel, multiple-leg sling assembly,
national stock number (NSN) 3940≠00≠805≠5533. This item costs $540. (Please note that the
previous NSN for this item was 3940≠00≠846≠9858. This NSN may still appear in some documents;
however, only the new NSN should be used when procuring the sling assembly.) This sling assembly
is used to lift the shelter onto and off a 5-ton cargo truck and to secure the shelter to the vehicle.
It comes with all of the hardware needed for both tasks (including the plate and eyebolt assembly,
illustrated at right). For many shelters, the sling assembly is the only basic issue item that comes with them.
Correctly Securing a Shelter
Think back for a moment to Sir Isaac Newton and his first law of motion,
often stated as—
An object at rest tends to stay at rest and an object in
motion tends to stay in motion with the same speed and in the same direction
unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.
The sling leg assemblyís tension is an important unbalanced force that will keep
the shelter on the back of the truck and will not permit it to shift rearward or forward under
rapid acceleration or deceleration.
shows tiedowns that were improperly used to attach
shelters to trucks.
Although empty shelters weigh approximately 1,400 pounds,
they may contain a payload weight of up to 5,000 pounds, resulting
in a total shelter weight
of 6,400 pounds. You should never use nylon cargo straps to secure
a shelter to a 5-ton cargo truck because the shelter and its
contents are too heavy.
Nylon straps may stretch; steel doesn’t stretch as much. The illustration
at left depicts what “right” looks like when securing a shelter.
When securing a shelter to a 5-ton cargo truck, you must ensure that the
tension of the tiedowns will keep the shelter in place. Place
the turnbuckles low, near the bed of the truck—not at the top of the shelter—so
you can reach them. This enables you to ensure that the tiedowns are tight
and have the proper tension. Proper tension is applied to each sling leg
by hand-tightening the turnbuckle until tight, then turning it an additional
half turn using a bar or wrench inserted into the turnbuckle’s opening.
The photographs above depict incorrect assembly. Each photograph shows an
actual vehicle in use by a unit in the field. Use these illustrations
to learn to recognize what is incorrect so that you can make the necessary
changes and get the correct materials to protect your equipment,
cargo, and Soldiers. In this instance, “right” does not include
the use of other wire rope assemblies, alternate tiedown points on the cargo
truck, various combinations of shackles, or the use of nylon
We cannot change the first law of motion that Sir Isaac Newton identified
many years ago. However, we can secure our loads safely to protect
both our Soldiers and cargo from damage. Reading the appropriate equipment
manuals and reviewing MTMCTEA Pamphlet 55–20 will help you prepare
to secure your heavy shelters correctly and safely on
5-ton cargo vehicles, regardless of driving conditions. Drivers,
noncommissioned officers, and commanders have many responsibilities
while conducting vehicle operations. Properly securing and checking their
will remove one important item—shifting loads—from their list
of things to worry about.
Colonel Neal H. Bralley, USA (Ret.), is an assistant professor
of logistics and force management at the Army Command and General Staff
College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. A graduate of the Army Command and
General Staff College and the Naval War College, he served in numerous
command and staff positions in Korea, Germany, Saudi Arabia, and the United