JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, Va., Nov. 27, 2018 —
U.S. Army Soldiers assigned to the 149th Seaport Opening Company strive to provide mission ready and capable vehicles for the 10th Transportation Battalion, 7th Trans. Brigade (Expeditionary).
According to U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Edward Wade, 10th Trans. Bn., 7th Trans. Bde. (Ex) Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment battalion maintenance NCO in charge, the 149th SOC is one of two units Army-wide that are tasked with maintaining both land vehicles and watercraft. This unique tasking for Soldiers provides a different perspective on Army maintenance that few have the opportunity to experience.
“We assist the [10th Trans. Bn.] in their primary goal of transporting goods and humanitarian aid,” said Wade. “We maintain and upkeep the vehicles and vessels assigned to us, so we can fight and win wars.”
Along with accomplishing everyday maintenance of the wheeled vehicles, the 149th SOC also performs preventive maintenance and repairs to generators, heaters, air conditioning units, weapons, night vision goggles and communication equipment.
Within the battalion, junior enlisted Soldiers are provided the opportunity to learn management and NCO skills early in their careers.
“The mechanics here have an advantage over other units because we have mechanics that are E-4’s and below that are running the maintenance for their company,” said Wade. “They get to learn maintenance management which is usually an E-5 and up skill level. Being the only mechanic in that unit, they are more well-rounded opposed to other E-4’s in bigger units that have E-6’s and E-7’s who run the maintenance program.”
According to Sgt. Joe Velasquez, 149th SOC, 10th Trans. Bn., 7th Trans. Bde (Ex.) unscheduled maintenance NCO in charge, the dedication, hard work and team work of the Soldiers provides the maintenance needed for the transportation units to accomplish their mission.
The multifaceted aspects of the 149th SOC allow them to be self-sufficient while deployed.
“The fact that we are multifaceted in having the trucks and vessels makes us a unique unit,” said Wade. “Other than that, we are a transportation unit who can deploy ourselves by rail and sea. Because we have [our own] vessels, we do not have to rely on the Navy to move our vehicles by sea, we can do it ourselves.”
According to Wade, when the 149th SOC deploys they will load and transport vehicles assigned to the unit. Once they arrive in their deployed location, they will be assigned location-specific equipment they are responsible for.
The 149th SOC performs seaport terminal service operations to discharge and load containerized and non-containerized cargo and wheeled and tracked vehicles in fixed seaports or at logistics-over the shore sites. The unit also coordinates seaport clearance and onward movement while supporting movement control and motor transportation units.
The Soldiers assigned to the 149th SOC work day-in and day-out to ensure their wheeled vehicles and watercraft are properly maintained and in working order to provide support for installation task and when the time comes, downrange in a deployed location.