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NEWS | Feb. 15, 2012

841st drives the "golden spike"

By Petty Officer 2nd Class Brannon Deugan Joint Base Charleston Public Affairs Office

The 841st Transportation Battalion held a ribbon cutting and golden spike ceremony at Joint Base Charleston - Weapons Station Feb. 13.

The driving of a golden spike is a railroad tradition celebrating the completion of a railroad project. The 841st Transportation Battalion drove their golden spike signifying an end to a railroad construction project costing more than $9 million.

"What you see here has taken more than eight years to come together and has required hard work by many," said Army Lt. Col. Robert Dawson, 841st Transportation Battalion commanding officer. "Just over 15 months ago, where you are sitting was covered in trees and heavy brush. Today it's a fine facility."

The 841st Transportation Battalion ships military equipment from installations across the United States to troops serving in Southwest Asia and Europe.

"This facility is all about strategic velocity," said Army Maj. Gen. Kevin Leonard, Surface Deployment and Distribution Command commanding general. "That is what this is all about and I will submit to you that only in the United States of America can we accomplish something like this. Thousands of vehicles are about to roll through here. The armed forces will be ready for what comes next because of places like this and great cities like Charleston."

The expansion added seven lines to the one previous rail line. Four of the lines are dedicated to storage.

"This is a terrific expansion ... because it will increase our capabilities and it allows for storage of cargo at the railhead instead of down at the port, giving a smoother operation," said Dawson. "This facility will not sit still long. Within the next week we will begin putting it to good use and start shipping cargo on behalf of our great nation as we perform our mission.

"As just one of a handful of strategic seaports in the United States, JB Charleston stands out as one of the best, providing a unique capability to our Army and military to receive and process large cargo rail shipments and to support our nation regardless of when the call may come," concluded Dawson.