596th MCT mission builds momentum

Story and photos by Sgt. Chad Menegay
13th Sustainment Command Public Affairs

CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE MAREZ, Iraq — The 596th Transportation Detachment, 14th Transportation Battalion (Movement Control), 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) continues to fuel Operation Iraqi Freedom while, at the same time, moving and tracking Soldiers and equipment out of Iraq for the upcoming responsible drawdown.

“On a daily basis, our mission here ramps up,” said 1st. Lt. David Strickland, commander of the 596th MCT and an Atlanta native.

Strickland said even back before the 596th arrived, his unit and its predecessors, the 561st MCT, picked up the transportation movement release mission for Forward Operating Base Warrior, FOB Q-West and FOB Sykes.

The unit is already experiencing the demands of the drawdown and the requirements of the reducing troop strength in Iraq, he said.

“Their (redeploying Soldiers) vehicles, gear, equipment, personal effects and war fighting materials all have to leave,” he said. “That’s what transportation does. We’re responsible for moving their gear and moving the American Soldier out of this theater as directed by our president.”

The 596th MCT is responsible for all movement of troops and equipment in northern Iraq, Strickland said.

The unit is the only Army MCT that runs an airport, said Sgt. Darren Singleton, noncommissioned officer-in-charge of the airfield and movement with the 596th MCT, and a Charleston, S.C., native.

“It’s quite an honor to be the only Army unit running a whole airfield,” he said.

“When we first got here it was quite difficult, being that we didn’t understand all of the Air Force jargon or procedures, but since then I think we’ve perfected our system,” Singleton said.

The 596th works on a customer service basis, Strickland said.

“You come to me with a transportation movement request to move Soldiers, equipment, rolling or non-rolling stock from point A to point B,” Strickland said. “My team prepares the request and submits it to the theater (level administrators). Movement assets are allocated and a date is set. Equipment is loaded and it moves. My team is responsible for tracking it on its way through the system. Once it’s arrived, my team will reach out to the customer and confirm that it’s arrived.”

“Then you’ve gone from customer service request to customer service fulfillment,” he said.

 

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Pfc. Elizabeth Good (left), a personnel accountability specialist with the 596th Transportation Detachment, 14th Transportation Battalion (Movement Control), 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), and a Labson, S.C., native, hands back identification cards June 12 at the Mosul Airfield on Contingency Operating Base Diamondback, Iraq. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Chad Menegay)

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Service members arrive June 12 at the Mosul Airfield on Contingency Operating Base Diamondback, Iraq. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Chad Menegay)

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Pfc. Elizabeth Good, a personnel accountability specialist with the 596th Transportation Detachment, 14th Transportation Battalion (Movement Control), 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) and a Labson, S.C., native, flags in an aircraft June 12 at the Mosul Airfield on Contingency Operating Base Diamondback, Iraq. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Chad Menegay)