Caravans of cargo flatbeds lined the motor pools of the 1st “Ironhorse” Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, from Jan. 13 to 16.

In a combined effort, the brigade’s Alpha Company, 115th “Muleskinner” Brigade Support Battalion and the 297th “Ghostriders” Inland Cargo Transfer Company, 180th Transportation Battalion, 4th Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command, began the process of preparing more than 100 shipping containers for movement to the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, Calif.

Throughout the week, Muleskinners lined the brigade’s motor pools with cargo flatbeds while Ghostriders loaded containers on the trucks for transport to the Fort Hood Rail Operations Center.

The shipping containers, stocked with almost everything the brigade needs for the training exercise, will later be shipped by rail to NTC.

Sgt. Gustavo Ocasio, a motor transport operator with the 115th, said most equipment travels by rail instead of truck, because it is a more cost-effective means for transporting equipment in large quantities. Other gear, including weapons and radios, will follow in trucks.

Chief Warrant Officer 2 Daniel McMillen, a mobility officer with Ironhorse’s Headquarters and Headquarters Company, is responsible for coordinating movement of the equipment to NTC.

He said the movement process begins two weeks before the train arrives ensuring units have their equipment and containers inspected, certified and ready to be shipped.

The two-week time frame allows appropriate time to correct deficiencies, like damage to containers.

“This is the hardest part of the maneuver right here,” Ocasio said. “Getting the soldiers onto the plane is pretty straightforward, but getting the equipment in place, (there are) a lot of moving pieces.”

The next steps toward moving Ironhorse to NTC are rail operations to ship containers by train, McMillen said, then preparing vehicles and containers for movement by truck.

“It’s truly a team effort,” McMillen said. “Not just internally to the brigade but also with division and outside agencies.”

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