21st TSC vehicles set for long haul

Master Sgt. Derrick Crawford, Story and photo
21st Theater Support Command

***image1***As Soldiers of 21st Theater Support Command deploy to Afghanistan and Iraq, their vehicles and equipment will be making a separate journey – by sea.

The 29th Support Group “pushed” 30 vehicles, belonging to the 69th Medium Truck Transportation Company, through the process Feb. 9.

The long road for the vehicles began at the 293rd Base Support Battalion initial staging area at Spinelli Barracks in Mannheim.

There, inspectors ensure everything from Humvees to line-haul transport trucks have the proper documentation, are mechanically fit and meet environmental standards before they are loaded for shipment by land, air or sea.

The vehicles are then loaded on trucks headed for Antwerp, Belgium. From Antwerp, a ship takes them to Pakistan, and then trucks haul them to Afghanistan.

“We take the burden off the unit. All they have to do is drive the trucks (to each station),” said Sgt. 1st Class Allen Snider, NCOIC of the Spinelli ISA.

When a unit like the 69th TC arrives at the site, the staff gives a briefing on safety and ISA procedures. Then, the line of vehicles begins making its way through the inspection stations. Drivers move the vehicles from the ISA site on to a barge site, railhead or airport for transport.

Once units complete their deployment, the ISA will shut down until the next rotation of units begins the cycle again.

Because of a new rotation of units heading out in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom, the Spinelli ISA has handled a steady flow of equipment during the past several months.

“The last time we had a group here, we processed 190 pieces of equipment in a day, and we’re talking (heavy equipment transfer system trucks),” said Capt. Selwyn Johnson, officer in charge of the Spinelli ISA operations.

The 69th TC, known as the “Rough Riders,” found its preparation resulted in a smooth ride through the process.

“I think our trucks are ready to go. We should be able to roll out as soon as we get our boots on the ground (in Afghanistan),” said Pvt. Matthew Heisel, 69th TC truck driver.