***image1***Sgt. Bryan Thompson could have more than 13,500 reasons why he enjoys his job, if he counts the number of deploying Soldiers who have passed through his doors at work in the past 15 months.
Sergeant Thompson is a transportation movement coordinator at the Maj. Gen. James M. Wright Deployment Processing Center at Rhine Ordnance Barracks. About 2,500 Soldiers have been processed for deployment through the center since the beginning of the year. In 2004, the number was almost 11,000.
“We’re not in Iraq or Afghanistan, but we are supporting the war,” Sergeant Thompson said. “This is the most gratifying job that I have ever had.”
The 29th Support Group center, part of the 21st Theater Support Command, serves as the U.S. Army, Europe’s primary airfield arrival and departure control group and provides support for all Army units deploying from Ramstein.
“If you think about it, the (center) deploys all of USAREUR and that there are a lot of eyes on us. That’s a pretty big deal,” said Sgt. Gloria Newland, DPC transportation movement coordinator.
The center is the last step in processing personnel and equipment on the Army side before moving on to the Joint Mobility Processing Center, commonly referred to as the purple ramp, for joint inspections on Ramstein, Sergeant Thompson said.
When working in a joint or “purple” environment, the requirement for flexibility and coordination is inherent. Staff must also plan backwards for each unit – starting from six hours before a flight is scheduled to depart. Their work gets very busy and challenging, said Sergeant Thompson.
“With planes (delayed), very little notice (72 hours) between the call-forward message and the deployment process, the tail end of one group deploying sometimes overlaps with the next one coming in,” Sergeant Thompson said.
The center is assigned only a handful of people – 10 enlisted Soldiers to be exact. And they find themselves working many hours, and sometimes seven days a week, said Sergeant Newland. The staff also assists in areas outside of the KMC. Currently two members are assisting deploying Southern European Task Force (Airborne) units in Vicenza, Italy.
“We provide command and control for all installation support agencies throughout Europe,” said Capt. James Read, DPC operations officer. “We deploy units by air and by sea, which takes road, rail and barge support.”