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NEWS | Sept. 4, 2013

Supporting the warfighter: 841st Transportation Battalion 's unique mission

By Senior Airman Ashlee Galloway Joint Base Charleston Public Affairs

With more than 50 mission partners spread across Joint Base Charleston, one unit you may not be aware of is the 841st Transportation Battalion, which plays a vital role in military operations and supporting the warfighter.

The 841st Transportation Battalion's mission is to deploy and conduct surface deployment and redeployment distribution and water terminal operations to support and sustain the warfighter.

"The 841st Transportation Battalion is responsible for all Department of Defense cargo on commercial vessels from the port of Savannah, Ga. to Maine along the Atlantic coast," said Lt. Col. Brian Memoli, 841st Transportation Battalion commander. "We conduct documentation support, conduct port clearance, load and unload and onward-move cargo that comes to us via ocean, and goes out from us via rail or truck."

Currently, the seven active-duty members, 29 civilians and contractors and 24 reservists assigned to the 841st assist numerous customers along the East Coast every day, including Fort Drum , N.Y., Camp Lejeune, N.C., Fort Bragg, N.C., Fort Benning, Ga., Fort Stewart , Ga., as well as other commercial partners.

The 841st has the capability to offload up to 150 trucks and 200 railcars of cargo per day. The cargo being loaded and offloaded are pieces of equipment used for the warfighter. T he 841st averages nine ships at JB Charleston - Weapons Station, and more than132 ships in other ports each month.

"We cut down on multiple fees being a part of a joint base, including wharf fees, usage fees and security fees," said Memoli. "We have 298,000 square feet of storage space for incoming and outgoing cargo on the Weapons Station, enabling us to save money as opposed to paying for storage off the installation."

The 841st also conducts vessel loading and unloading operations in direct support of Army Strategic Logistics Activity - Charleston, as required by the Army.

"In the APS-3 mission, the 841st will take a given amount of warfighting equipment and supplies and load it onto a ship. These prepositioned ships will then take that equipment to float on the ocean for months near potential hotspots until it is needed by the warfighter," said Memoli.

Prepositioning this equipment enables the DOD to save time and money in the event of unexpected crisis. Instead of the equipment being uploaded to C-17 Globemaster IIIs flying multiple missions to move equipment quickly, virtually everything the warfighter needs is available on short notice.

With their current resources, the 841st Transportation Battalion has the capability to upload and discharge three vessels in two geographically separated port facilities, conduct port clearance/reception for 800 to 1,200 pieces of cargo, and conduct documentation support to 40 manifests/2,500 pieces of cargo every seven days.

In the current fiscal year, 40 percent of all the surface cargo moving worldwide traveled through 841st ports along the Atlantic Ocean and 6 percent of the cargo went through JB Charleston alone.

"Whether it is by sea, rail or truck, the 841st Transportation Battalion and
the Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command have one focus," said Memoli. "Ensure the warfighter gets the equipment and supplies they need, where and when they need it."