by Staff Sgt. Adrian Patoka
21st Theater Sustainment Command
For the first time, junior enlisted logisticians from across Europe came together April 22 for a one-week transportation knowledge management workshop at Kleber Kaserne, Kaiserslautern.
Soldiers from 21st Theater Sustainment Command, 16th Sustainment Brigade, Surface Deployment and Distribution Command and 7th Mission Support Command learned and practiced with multiple digital tracking and information systems currently used in U.S. Army Europe sustainment operations, like setting the European theater.
Setting the theater involves tracking and moving thousands of pieces of a deploying unit’s equipment set from the U.S., into Europe, then through Europe to their final destinations.
“With the systems that we’re on and accessing, in a timely manner service members can capture the equipment that comes into U.S. Army Europe,” said Chief Warrant Officer 3 Thomas Fernandez, Plans and Operations Officer, 39th Movement Control Battalion.
“They can capture the equipment and start the distribution process much faster by coordinating with the unit, dragging their data off the systems instead of waiting for information to be fed [to them],” Fernandez said. “Being able to see the equipment long before it arrives definitely helps the Joint Logistics Enterprise.”
Oftentimes, junior logisticians are at the tip of the sustainment operations spear. The training expands their knowledge and mission readiness.
“A lot of the units, we have junior Soldiers that come here right out of AIT. That confidence – that knowledge, where you know your role – it creates a common understanding of what you are supposed to do,” Fernandez added.
Small Movement Control Teams are at the forefront of receiving the equipment. Systems like the Distributional Retrograde Adaptive Planning and Execution Management, or DRAM, Single Mobility System and National Radio Frequency-In-Transit Visibility server expand the capabilities of logisticians at the ports.
“You hear about these things, but you don’t use them,” said Sgt. Brandon Peterson, a junior logistician with 1181st Deployment Distribution Support Team, 598th Transportation Brigade. “So, once we get that hands-on experience it helps us with our job. As long as you know how to use these systems, you can fall into a position easily.”
“It gives you a broader view of your job as a logistician,” he added.
The workshop helped synchronize use of the multiple digital equipment tracking platforms used by U.S. Army Europe logisticians. Organizers hope to continue workshops like this to build readiness and increase efficiency in sustainment operations.