Army barge supplies Operation Iraqi Freedom with equipment

Angelika Lantz
21st Theater Support Command Public Affairs

Soldiers with the 21st Theater Support Command are moving their vehicles and equipment downrange, so 1st Infantry Division’s Soldiers can concentrate on their upcoming deployment.
“The guys at the 21st TSC are the ones who came up with the plan on how our equipment is going to get from here to there,” said the Officer in Charge of the Installation Staging Area, Capt. Stephen Maire, HHC, 279th Base Support Battalion.
The staging area at Warner Barracks, Bamberg, consists of six inspection stages. It was established to catch potential problems that might prevent equipment and vehicles from getting on the ships at the port.
Equipment and vehicles are moved by commercial line-haul, rail and barge, said 1st Lt. David Hankins, 191st Ordnance Battalion, 29th Support Group, 21st TSC, Lieutenant Hankins is the OIC and 21st TSC representative on the ground at the Bamberg barge site.
At the river pier, Soldiers from the 191st Ordnance Battalion’s 23rd Ordnance and 251st Cargo Transfer Companies select and drive the vehicles to the crane according to the size of the spot on the barge to be filled. They move them back and forth inside the barge to park them as tightly as possible, Sgt. Kenneth Cogdill and Sgt. Shawn Collins, both from the 251st CTC, explained.
“One of the limiting factors is the speed of the crane loading the equipment onto the barge,” said Lieutenant Hankins. “At ten pieces per hour and with up to 241 pieces to be loaded during one day, the schedule becomes quite tight.”
Since it is not a U.S. military installation, the U.S. Soldiers are not allowed to use their weapons, so the German guards are there to keep their American friends safe.
“The absolutely excellent job everyone is doing,” and the great relationship this unit has developed among themselves and with everyone involved in the operation, makes this a very positive experience, said Lieutenant Hankins. This is a sentiment echoed by Captain Maire. “It is fantastic working with the guys from the 21st. We all have the same focus, the same goals: to get these guys out of here with as little hassle on them as possible.”