Army sends equipment downrange

Spc. Leeanne Cowen
21st Theater Support Command

***image1***Whether a Soldier is deploying or redeploying it is the little things that can make his move smooth or rough.
1st Infantry Division Soldiers trying to deploy equipment by rail to a sea port for the second rotation of Operation Iraqi Freedom from Schweinfurt, Germany, have left many of the details to the 21st Theater Support Command’s 29th Support Group. The Schweinfurt team’s mission is to help move military cargo by rail and sea from Germany to Iraq. The task is much like bookkeeping with a few extras – like running a wrecker service, for one.
Schweinfurt is one of 10 locations throughout Germany that is pushing roughly 70,000 tons of equipment out to Iraq.
Along with other 21st TSC units, like a wrecker crew from Kaiserslautern’s 5th Maintenance Company and hazmat experts from the 251st Cargo Transportation Company, these soldiers work around the clock to make sure everything is accounted for, then on its way. The challenge is in the details.
“21st TSC mostly keeps track of the numbers. We support the unit, keep track of how many pieces they moved out with and we brief them. We send reports up about convoys that left to go to the barge, and vehicles that moved to the rail,” said Staff Sgt. Marion Unwin, the NCO in charge of the Schweinfurt Reception Staging and Onward Team.
The oversight part is important when dealing with so many organizations moving so many pieces.
“The biggest challenge is making sure that we have the same numbers and everybody’s on the same sheet of music because there are so many agencies working together,” said Sergeant Unwin. “I’ve heard the term, ‘three-headed monster’ mentioned a few times. That’s the hardest part.”
But the Soldiers don’t notice the number crunching. The Soldiers notice things like the wrecker.
“Most of our wreckers are being deployed,” said one 1st Infantry Division NCO, who had been waiting by the side of the autobahn near Schweinfurt for 14 hours until the 21st TSC vehicle arrived. “It’s good that the 21st brought theirs.”
Even as the Soldiers worked to recover the vehicle and trailer, they kept their minds on the mission and the little things – like working a safe distance from autobahn traffic and having someone provide over watch.
“The wrecker missions have been numerous, and all have been successful. There have been no accidents since we’ve arrived here. There have been no serious incidents or casualties. Everyone follows safety rules. I think that’s important because as we were briefed, if there is one casualty, the mission was not a success,” Sergeant Unwin said.