793rd team supports deployed Soldiers

Master Sgt. Sue Harper
21st Theater Support Command

***image1***The Soldiers of the 793rd Movement Control Team, a Kaiserslautern reserve unit that falls under 21st Theater Support Command’s 1st Transportation Movement Control Agency, recently had to link all the pieces of the transportation process to ensure equipment and personnel from deploying U.S. Army Europe units moved to Iraq and Kuwait on time.
“The 21st TSC has given world class support to pushing Soldiers out on deployment,” said Brig. Gen. John Morgan III, the assistant division commander for Maneuver. “There is not a lot of stagnant, dead time out there.”
Including the Kosovo and Stabilization Forces Soldiers, the MCT along with the Air Force’s 721st Air Mobility Squadron, moved more than 12,000 personnel and their almost 2 million pound baggage during a 10-day period in February.
An MCT provides the vital link between Soldier, passenger and the aircraft. The team will work out things like when the aircraft crew is going to show up, what time the plane will be loaded, the cabin capacity or the maximum weight the plane can bear and how to balance that weight.
Slot times or the window of time the plane is given to get into the air, drove the entire operation. Any flight not leaving during its allotted time needed to be rescheduled. That would mean at least a 12-hour wait for the Soldiers, said Staff Sgt. Michael McGregor of the 793rd MCT, so getting Soldiers ready and boarded on schedule was very important.
When the aircraft is ready to take on baggage, the MCT controls that, too. The MCT calls for a baggage truck to pick up the baggage and the military baggage crew. Then, about 20 minutes before it’s time to load the passengers, the 793rd MCT will usually give a heads up call to the personnel holding area NCO, so the NCO can tell the Soldiers to start putting their gear on and the chalk commanders can get accountability of their Soldiers, Sergeant McGregor said.
“No one asks how that plane got into the air on time, but everyone wants to know why the plane didn’t get into the air on time,” Sergeant McGregor said.
Normally what delays Soldiers getting on the plane is that they have a lot of gear, and they want to take that gear off and stow their bags before they sit down. This means other Soldiers have to wait to get onto the plane.
“This is not a problem when we start loading passengers when we are supposed to,” said another member of the MCT, Staff Sgt. Charles Wallace. “We build time into the schedule for that.”
During delays however, the passengers have to get on the plane fast, as was the case when bad weather slowed the buses carrying soldiers from Wuerzburg.
“The plane had to be loaded in less than 30 minutes,” Sergeant Wallace said.
To speed up the process sergeants Wallace and McGregor ask the Soldiers to board the plane as quickly as possible and hold their carry-on items on their lap until the plane is in the air.
“You have to explain to them that if they don’t find a seat, get in it and buckle up quickly, they are going to lose their slot time. If that happens, the plane will have to be rescheduled and that could delay them 12 hours or more,” Sergeant Wallace said.
“There is nothing more satisfying to me than to see the plane get in the air,” Sergeant McGregor said.