Army command moves people, equipment to Iraq

Master Sgt. Sue Harper
21st Theater Support Command Public Affairs

The 21st Theater Support Command is currently moving 1st Infantry Division equipment to Iraq and redeploying 1st Armored Division equipment to European bases through the port at Antwerp, Belgium.
About 20 organizations from the 21st TSC’s Surface Deployment, Distribution Command and Belgium are working together to pull 70,000 tons of equipment from roughly 10 locations throughout Germany and then push the equipment out to Iraq. Simultaneously, these groups are receiving combat-damaged equipment from the 1st Armored Division.
“No cargo will sit” is the battle cry for this operation. Those words come directly from 21st TSC’s Commanding General, Maj. Gen. Bennie E. Williams, and echo through all ranks of the operation.
Moving cargo is key to bringing the 1st AD Soldiers home, said Col. Victoria Leignadier, commander of the SDDC’s 598th Transportation Terminal Group.
“The forces in Kuwait cannot leave until we get these folks downrange, matched up with their equipment, into the box, and their relief in place,” said Colonel Leignadier.
Soldiers working at the port understand this point as well.
“It’s important that we accomplish our mission — the transfer of authority, so that our comrades over there can get back home and be with their families,” said Sgt. Michael Nussbaum, the 1st Infantry Division’s noncommissioned officer in charge of movement.
Cargo is not the only thing moving in this operation. Roughly 500 U.S. Soldiers, civilians and local nationals are working hard to keep the flow moving.
“We have enough Soldiers for every piece of equipment,” Sergeant Nussbaum said. “No Soldier at anytime is just sitting around.”
The cargo does not sit, whether it’s coming off a barge or a ship — whether it is coming or going.
“As soon as the cargo comes off the ships, we are right on top of it and load it up onto our Army tractor trailers, and take it out of here,” said Pvt. David Knowlton, a truck driver for 70th Transportation Company, a 21st TSC subordinate unit..
“They are doing a phenomenal job!” said 1st Armored Division’s liaison, Sgt. Maj. Glenn D. Gibbs. “No one from 1st Armored Division is here to receive this equipment. These guys are doing that for us.”
Succeeding with so many moving pieces passing through so many different organizations is not easy, but good people make it work, Colonel Leignadier said.
“The challenging part is to get all the pieces to work together. You have between 15 and 20 groups working as one unified action to get the ship loaded or discharged,” she said. “But we are lucky we have a great team here.”