601st MCT DST assists cargo movement through Basra

Story and photo by Pfc. Lisa A. Cope
139th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment
13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) Public Affairs

CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE BASRA, Iraq — Three Soldiers with the 601st Movement Control Team out of Santa Fe, N.M., supervise all movement control functions on Contingency Operating Base Basra, Iraq, as Contingency Operating Location Adder becomes the central hub for transportation in United States Division-South.

Staff Sgt. Phillip A. Deisch, the transportation management supervisor for the Division Support Team, with the 601st MCT, 49th Transportation Battalion, 15th Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) and a Minneapolis, Minn., native, said the main mission of the MCT is to process movement requests for units that need to ship cargo within the Iraq Joint Operations Area, or to Kuwait for re-deployment.

The 601st MCT has 23 Soldiers total, with 20 Soldiers residing in Contingency Operating Base Kalsu, Iraq, and the three Soldiers that make up the DST in COB Basra, said Deisch.

The DST only assists with movements that have already been processed, and tracks cargo as it moves through their area of operation; they no longer have the capabilities to begin a movement request, said Deisch.

"We actually don't process any (transfer movement requests) here," he said. "The MCT that runs operations in (COL) Adder, they are actually now responsible for processing TMRs for all of (COL) Adder, COB Basra, and (Contingency Operating Site) Bucca."

The DST tries to remain flexible and assist with any transportation issues that may arise to the best of their ability, said Deisch.

Staff Sgt. Jonathan N. Romero, the DST central receiving and shipping point noncommissioned officer for the 601st MCT and an Espanola, N.M., native, said one of his main missions is to supply information to the radio frequency identification tags that help track cargo as it is moved throughout Iraq.

Romero said much of his job is centered around loss prevention. The RFI tags electronically track the cargo as it moves, so Romero can see where it is at any point.

He said maintaining morale can be difficult when working such long hours, but the three Soldiers make it a point to meet at least once a day to relax and vent.

"The whole group in (Contingency Operating Location) Kalsu is able to interact with each other," said Romero. "The only time we meet up, all three of us, is at dinner chow."

Deisch said meeting as a group is important for team cohesion, especially in such a small group.

"All three of us work in separate locations, so even just feeling disconnected from the members of your team sometimes can be frustrating," he said. "But we do make it a point to try to go the gym together in the morning or to (eat) one or two meals together during the day."