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Moving America’s Military Might - Metaphorically Speaking…

SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill., (USTCNS, April 5, 2005) --- Americans pack-up their personal belongings and move to a new home 10 to 12 times in a lifetime. Ask anyone who has recently gone through this and you will learn that it’s not easy; whether done personally or professionally, each move presents unique challenges.

Relocating means sifting through a myriad of logistical issues to make sure it goes smoothly. Usually, the event must be coordinated to coincide with other major happenings such as school or work. Shipment of certain items requires distinct planning. Moving plants, food and pets often demand specialized consideration. The whole process must also be timed. The new home must be ready to move in to. The personal belongings must show up at the right place, at the right time; and travel plans for individuals must match those of the personal belongings. The entire effort must be planned in detail, resourced and synchronized.

Moving America’s armed forces has many similarities – only on a much grander scale.

The U.S. Transportation Command is responsible for getting American forces where they need to be, when they need to be there, delivering supplies while they are there, and then bringing them home. A little more than 1,000 Defense Department civilians, Soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and coast guardsmen from the active and Reserve components manage the Defense Transportation System from Scott Air Force Base, Ill. They plan for the future, validate war fighter requirements, balance resources to meet defense priorities and synchronize the entire process. The actual execution of the air, land and sea movements is done by the Air Force’s Air Mobility Command, the Army’s Surface Deployment and Distribution Command and the Navy’s Military Sealift Command. The combined workforce is more than 156,000 strong and plays a major role in every facet of military transportation and distribution to support forces on a global stage.

The USTRANSCOM team is busily planning and managing transportation and distribution support for the Global War on Terror. It has been a non-stop mission since our nation was attacked in 2001. To date, the command has moved more than 2.2 million troops and 119 million square feet of cargo. Statistics like this are often daunting, so comparatively speaking…

People wise, this is like moving all of the people that live in St. Louis and Jefferson Counties in Mo., along with all of the people that live south of I-70 in Ill. half-way around the world.

Cargo wise, this is like filling St. Louis Mills, the Edward Jones Dome and America’s Center with military equipment and supplies; then shipping it half-way around the world and back again 35 times.

USTRANSCOM moves all things for the Department of Defense; not only the troops, equipment and supplies to support a nation at war.

When service members conduct a Permanent Change of Station (PCS – or military jargon for a move) their personal belongings are moved within the same Defense Transportation System that is used to project America’s military might. The USTRANSCOM team completes about 500,000 moves for service members and their families every year.

Each move – for peace or war, to support national military strategy or to relocate service members and their families - presents its own unique challenges.

Office of Public Affairs - transcom-pa@mail.mil
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