On 18 March 1949, the Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 436th Transportation Truck Battalion was constituted in the Organized Reserve Corps in affiliation with the Pennsylvania Motor Truck Association and assigned to the Second Army. The battalion was then activated at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on 25 March 1949. It was headquarters at butler, Pennsylvania on 25 March 1949. On 5 September 1950, the organization was reorganized and redesignated as Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 436th Transportation Truck Battalion. In 1952, the Organized Reserve was redesignated the Army Reserve. On 2 June 1953, the unit was redesignated and Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 436th Transportation Battalion. It was later reorganized and redesignated as the Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 436th Transportation Battalion on 3 August 1959.
On 15 October 1961, President John F. Kennedy ordered the 436th Transportation Battalion into active military service at Bulter, Pennsylvania in response to the Berlin Crisis. The unit closed on Fort Riley, Kansas on 25 October 1961. After a short period of organization and processing the battalion, augmented by the 769th Transportation Company (Light Truck), a former National Guard unit from Mott, North Dakota, entered upon a period of intensified training to prepare itself for its assigned mission. This period of training which lasted until the end of January involved both advanced training of individuals in such basic transportation skills as rough terrain driving, map and compass reading, proper completion of trip tickets, driving skills, and blackout driving as well as unit training. This period of training culminated in 29-31 January with the Army Training Test for a truck battalion. The ATT was conducted by the 1st Infantry division Trains and the results were highly satisfactory, the unit being considered highly capable of accomplishing its mission under combat conditions.1
After completing its ATT, the battalion commenced providing truck support for the various units stationed at fort riley, as well as continuing its training to maintain a high state of combat readiness. During the period February-March, a number of officers and men were given the opportunity to attend various US Army Service Schools.2
On 1 May 1962, the battalion once again took to the field for a period of 15 days. Beginning with a tactical motor march to the bivouac area, the 436th Transportation Battalion attempted to simulate as nearly as possible the conditions under which it would operate in actual combat. Emphasis was placed on defense against guerrilla attacks and the continuous operation of vehicles under tactical conditions. During this period, the battalion also underwent air and ground attacks on convoys and the bivouac areas, was attacked by chemical and nuclear weapons, and made a night displacement. The training period was climaxed by undertaking a 200-mile off-post motor convoy operation.3
On 25-29 May, one officer and 20 men from the battalion were given the assignment of delivering a number of ambulances to Camp McCoy, Wisconsin, where they were needed for the support of Reserve Components in training. This mission which involved a motor march of over 600 miles gave the battalion the opportunity to plan and carry out a mission of such nature which it might at any time be called upon to perform. During the period 13-30 June, the battalion was given an assignment of an unusual nature, as 4 officers and 270 men were sent to fort Leavenworth, Kansas, to provide support for the World Wide Combat Arms Conference II. The battalion was released from active military service and reverted back to reserve status on 10 August 1962.4
The 436th Transportation Battalion was inactivated at Butler, Pennsylvania on 31 January 1968. It was later reactivated as the 436th Movement Control Battalion (MCB) at Fort Wadsworth, New York, on 2 September 1996.
One movement control detachment of the 436th MCB was ordered into active military service on 12 August 2002 at Fort Wadsworth, New York. It was released from active military service and reverted to reserve status on 10 July 2003.
The 874th Movement Control Team, led by MAJ Mike Butler, deployed to Kuwait in December 2003. The 874th MCT was attached to the 49th Movement Control Battalion along the Turkish border in Northern Iraq where they controlled the flow of crude oil from Iraq in to Turkey for refining, then back in to Iraq as seven different types of refined fuel.5
The area was controlled by Kurds and the Soldiers developed a strong bond with the local community. 1LT Wendy J. Bernard and other Soldiers of the MCT began sending photos of the children back to the rear. MAJ Ronald Knopp created numerous collages from those photos then purchased a URL and had a friend build a website. Mrs. Lorrayne Robertson, the unit family readiness coordinator, arranged for numerous donations of food, school and medical supplies and the shipping to the unit in Iraq. On 18 March 2004, 1LT Bernard initiated a humanitarian mission in Northern Iraq, called Operation Helping Hands. Bernard and her colleagues collected and distributed school supplies to children of the Ronahe Primary School of Riz Gari, Khalid Aziz.6
The 436th Transportation Battalion, under the command of LTC provided theater movement control under the 377th Theater Support Command (TSC) and the 143rd TRANSCOM (FWD) from 23 September 2004 to 20 September 2005. The Battalion provided command and control for three active component movement control teams, four reserve component units and seventeen contracted teams:
The Battalion operation included more than five hundred Army and contracted movement control personnel located at all 14 operational nodes in Kuwait. During this period, the Battalion provided movement control support for the deployment and redeployment of thirty brigade combat teams, including coordination for and movement control support for the lift assets required to haul those forces, as well as the movement control support for the ground assault convoys for those units. The operations included its mission of providing 100% in transit visibility for all units and equipment at every stage of their movement.7
The Battalion operations section, along with the 532nd Transportation Detachment at the Coalition Border Crossing between Kuwait and Iraq (commonly called “Navistar”), took the lead in a 143rd TRANSCOM project to produce a critical Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Combined Forces Land Component Command (CFLCC) and the government of Kuwait. This is the culmination of a two-year effort to reduce border crossing procedures to written form, and when executed is expected to reduce convoy processing time by more than fifty percent. This process will simultaneously improve all support operations for Coalition forces in Iraq, and it will further improve Kuwaiti government confidence in our border crossing operations.
The Highway Traffic Section (HTS) issued more than 45,000 convoy clearances, carefully coordinating movement between various nodes in Kuwait. They also meticulously managed almost 1,400 movement missions between the sterile lots and the Sea Port of Embarkation at Al Shuaiba, Kuwait. This was significant because previous rotations of forces resulted in large backlogs at that port and traffic jams on Kuwaiti highways surrounding the port. The professional management of the movements during this rotation resulted in all missions executed without a single traffic jam or backlog at the port. It also led to a 100% success rate for units meeting their redeployment load dates. This section of the headquarters was also responsible for one of the highest visibility missions in this theater – that of managing and enforcing the link-up of all convoys and bus movements with mandatory Kuwaiti escorts. This mission was critical because the Kuwaitis have established an entire Convoy Security and Protection Division, headed by a brigadier general, to escort and protect Coalition movements in Kuwait. This requirement has such high visibility that the daily results were briefed to the CFLCC Commanding General each morning. The Traffic section successfully linked more than 8,000 of these missions and maintained a 99.5% success rate. This rate is a full 66% improvement over the escort success rate when the unit first arrived in theater.
Additionally, the Highway Traffic Section (HTS), along with the 957th Transportation Detachment and the 408th Transportation Detachment also managed the Battalion Road-Space Teams. These teams were responsible for traffic management, accident response, route management and vehicle recovery assistance throughout Kuwait. These teams provided invaluable service to the deploying and re-deploying brigades, by intercepting and correcting more than 300 route violations, and assisting with nearly 300 vehicle recoveries. The HTS was also responsible for planning and providing clearances for an average of 11.1 sustainment convoys every day with an average of 304 vehicles daily. Through the deployment period, its efforts led to 109,000 vehicles in 4,000 convoys successfully moving supplies to our coalition forces in Iraq. The HTS also raised the Theater In Transit Visibility (ITV) to a level unprecedented in U.S. transportation history. The teams used the most modern means available, including Military Tracking System, Qualcom, and BCS3, combined with the traditional reports generated by movement control teams in Iraq and Kuwait, to track an average of 2,149 vehicles per day in Iraq. Each day they tracked an average of 246 convoy clearances, and often tracked as many as 400 clearances each day. They developed a new report which consolidated data from the Theater Movement Program, the Sustainment Escort Matrix, and the Ground Assault Convoy Movement Tracker, which provided an extremely accurate picture of all theater assets.
The Plans, Programs and Operations Section (PPO) of the Battalion headquarters processed well over 10,000 Transportation Movement Requests and assisted in the allocation of over 60,000 flatbed systems and 20,000 Heavy Equipment Transportation (HET) systems. This planning was absolutely critical to the successful deployment and redeployment of thirty Brigade Combat Teams and dozens of corps and division separate units. As the surge approached, the PPO leadership recognized a crucial shortfall in the process -- an undefined process to maximize the backhaul of theater assets. Left unchecked, this would have led to many missed load dates for redeploying units. However, the leadership within the section quickly formulated a plan and sent two soldiers to Iraq as support elements to the Corps Movement Control Battalion. These soldiers dedicated their effort solely to the backhaul process. This action contributed greatly to a 99% utilization of backhaul assets, which in turn led to the timely and successful redeployment of all combat brigades and the brigade separates associated with the Multi-National Corps in Iraq. The unit’s success is in direct contrast to the previous OIF rotations, where it was not uncommon for backhaul rates of 50% and for entire units to miss their original ship dates. This accomplishment, and its direct effect on the success of the largest rotation of forces since World War II, cannot be overstated.
The 384th Movement Control Team was stationed at Ali Al Salem Air Base in Northern Kuwait, and had three missions which positively impacted the entire theater: Passenger Processing and Movement, Road Space Management and Kuwaiti Link-Up enforcement. At a location designated as “Area 51,” they ran the intra-theater passenger terminal which handled every coalition force traveling by air between Iraq and Kuwait. They processed passengers, built baggage pallets, and coordinated with the United States Air Force and the Battalion’s Bus Operations cell to efficiently move all coalition forces to and from Iraq. They processed passengers from as many as twenty-four C130 flights each day, and successfully moved those passengers and their accompanying baggage pallets to or from the aircraft. Concurrently, while meeting these requirements, they also coordinated all onward movement ground transportation with the Bus Operations Cell. They ensured manifests were accurate and enforced the Air Force manifesting standards to ensure passengers were accounted for in the Global Air Transportation Execution System (GATES). During the deployment, the unit processed more than 430,000 Soldiers and Marines through the Area 51 terminal. The 384th MCT also provided road-space management for the convoy routes in Northern Kuwait, assisting with lost convoys, vehicle breakdowns and accident response. Their third mission required them to assist with the mandatory link-up between Kuwait escort officials and all bus and convoy movements. As mentioned above, the team contributed to the increased link-up effectiveness and helped them achieve an overall success rate of 99.5%.
Perhaps the most critical node operated by the Battalion is the Coalition border crossing between Kuwait and Iraq, commonly called “Navistar.” This node is run by the 532nd Transportation Detachment and the 408th Movement Control Team. Every ground movement by coalition forces between Kuwait and Iraq must use this crossing point. During this deployment, the teams processed an unprecedented number of forces through Navistar, with just under 42,000 convoys with nearly 350,000 vehicles cleared. This mission required strong working relationships with Kuwaiti Border Security, Immigrations and Customs officials who control the foreign national crossing process and the customs inspection process. Movement control responsibilities include briefing every convoy commander prior to movement. The northbound briefings include threat assessments, routes and security procedures. The southbound briefings included mandatory escort requirements, arming stance and route requirements. Additionally, the Navistar teams built and processed an average of 11.1 sustainment convoys every day, sending food, fuel and supplies to Iraq in an average of 304 truckloads each day. This task requires coordinating with more than 300 private vendors who contract with U.S. forces, as well as facilitating immigration and border security checks prior to each convoy’s movement across the border. Throughout the deployment, these teams processed nearly 4,000 of these convoys with nearly 110,000 truckloads of fuel, food, clothing and construction materials – everything required to sustain more than 150,000 coalition forces day in and day out. This operation is so critical to the war effort that the CFLCC Deputy Commanding General visited the Movement Control Team on a weekly basis to observe operations and offer his input and assistance.
The 559th Transportation Detachment provided several capabilities essential to the battalion’s success. Half of their force was assigned to operate as the sole Army movement control team in Qatar. This team assisted with virtually all military movements between the seaport and the airport, including deployment and redeployment operations in support of Afghanistan operations. Another portion of the unit operated one of the highest priority nodes in Kuwait – that of the Kuwait Rear Operations Center (KROC). The KROC is the main liaison cell between U.S. forces in Kuwait and the Kuwait Convoy Security & Protection Division. The KROC team coordinates all the previously mentioned convoy and bus link-up missions, and assists with changes and adjustments to those missions. They also act as the first response link for highway accidents involving Coalition forces. The KROC is also used by the Kuwait forces as a key information conduit for intelligence on terrorist activities, route closures, checkpoints and other key issues for which information exchange is essential. Since October 1, 2004, these soldiers have coordinated link-up missions for more than 5,000 bus missions and almost 4,000 ground convoy missions, moving more than 40,000 trucks.
The 394th Transportation Detachment and the 957th Movement Control Team, along with Headquarters personnel, successfully managed all U.S. military bus operations in Kuwait. This is itself a battalion-sized operation which controls between 200 and 300 buses and dozens of baggage trucks in support of all deployment and redeployment missions, camp-to-camp transport requirements and several regular shuttle missions. During this deployment, this group supported more than 21,000 bus missions and carried more than 2,000,000 passengers throughout every node in Kuwait. This is one of the few operations that directly effects every soldier, sailor, marine and airman who deploys to Operation Iraqi Freedom, and these teams have created and operated a seamless and efficient operation. This is a bus operation equivalent to that of a large city, but with the added challenges of flights and movements delayed by enemy activities, dust storms which cover hundreds of kilometers, and complications related to the Kuwaiti escort requirements. It is a complex operation which they have brilliantly executed.
Portions of the 408th Transportation Detachment (Cargo Documentation), the 559th Movement Control Team, and the 957th Movement Control Team provided outstanding experience and support to the movement control missions at Camp Arifjan, the Kuwait Naval Base, and Ali Al Salem Air Base. Their personnel were directly integrated into the battalion headquarters operations, including the Plans, Programs, and Operations section, the Bus Operations section, the Movement Regulation Teams (MRTs), and the Highway Traffic section. In addition, they provided movement control operations at the container yard, the Camp Arifjan convoy entry control points, and the sterile yards at Camp Arifjan and the Kuwait Naval Base. Most of their contributions were in providing support for the Movement Regulation Teams (MRTs) and in linkup operations. Prior to the arrival of 436th Movement Control Battalion, the Kuwaiti escorts frequently had a difficult time locating the convoy linkup points, which resulted in convoys leaving late for their missions and a high percentage of missed link-ups. The 436th implemented a number of improvements to effect change, including placing a number of signs that identify the most problematic linkup points, and creating binders of strip maps, photographs, and written instructions in both English and Arabic. The results of the Battalion’s road-space and linkup operations were a major improvement in convoys leaving on time and an overall zero percentage of missed KMOI security escort link-up. This led to an enhanced understanding between the United States and the Kuwaiti governments. The MRT soldiers provided movement control by ensuring that tactical vehicles remained on authorized routes. They also patrolled unauthorized routes, looking for vehicles / convoys and redirecting them to the proper routes. This activity was extremely beneficial in that military traffic was kept away from Kuwait City, avoiding potential vehicle accidents. Moreover, keeping military traffic away from the major population center of Kuwait City helped to maintain the strong U.S. and Kuwaiti working relationship. Through pro-active MRT activities during this rotation, military vehicle accidents and injuries were significantly reduced. When an incident did occur on the roadways, MRT soldiers were in many cases the first responders – providing valuable intelligence and reporting to include assistance and directing of emergency response personnel. Finally, MRT soldiers provided critical intelligence to both CFLCC G2 and the PMO.
The 436th Movement Control Battalion (WSYDAA), Headquartered at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait and its subordinate Movement Control Teams: the 384th Movement Control Team (WC8LAA), the 394th Movement Control Team (WC3PAA), the 408th Movement Control Team (Cargo Documentation) (WC6DAA), the 532nd Movement Control Team (WZUGAA), the 559th Movement Control Team (WZUKAA), and the 957th Movement Control Team (WZWAAA), comprising 143 soldiers deployed across Iraq and Kuwait served with great distinction and honor from 23 September 2004 to 20 September 2005 in support of the Multi-National Forces and Multi-National Corps in Iraq and the Coalition Forces Land Component Command (CFLCC) in Kuwait. The unit tracked and provided 100% in transit visibility to units and their equipment moving to or from the Arial Port of Debarkation, the Sea Port of Debarkation, the Theater Distribution Center, and strategic camp locations to include Camp Doha, Kuwaiti Naval Base, Camp Arifjan, Convoy Support Center Navistar, Camp Buering and Camp Victory. This ensured that troop movement was expedited and critical supply routes for military and civilian traffic were not hindered while meeting the numerous Kuwait Ministries of the Interior and Defense Requirements. The command ensured safety first and mission always as evidenced by zero critical accidents or incidents and zero fatalities to 436th Movement Control Battalion personnel. This was accompanied by a large reduction in accidents among all US Army personnel moving in and out of Kuwait. The 436th Movement Control Battalion and its teams used creative thinking and resourcefulness, along with a deep rooted desire to accomplish the mission and solve problems associated with the “surge” between November 2004 and March 2005, and to provide premier customer service to the deploying and redeploying fighting brigades. As a multi-faceted command that included Active and Reserve soldiers, along with contracted movement control specialists, the Battalion blended the skills and abilities of its personnel to set high standards of accomplishment and consistency in movement control. Key accomplishments included controlling all military convoys in Kuwait by issuing more than 45,000 convoy clearances. This included more than 1,400 critically timed moves to the Sea Port of Debarkation. The Navistar border crossing processed nearly 42,000 convoys and 350,000 vehicles, including all movements involved in rotating the 18-brigade force in Iraq, as well as all vehicles that sustained those forces. This included nearly 110,000 truckloads of fuel, food, clothing and construction materials that had to pass through Navistar and be tracked by the Battalion. The Plans section processed TMRs and helped allocate and track more than 60,000 flatbed systems and 20,000 Heavy Equipment Transport systems to rotate those brigades, and the Highway Traffic Section tracked every single movement from beginning to end. The bus operations section managed a bus fleet equivalent to that of a large city, and over the course of the deployment carried more than 2,000,000 passengers. All elements coordinated with Kuwaiti Rear Operations Center (KROC) to ensure these bus and convoy movements had their proper Kuwaiti escort, which resulted in more than 9,000 successful escorts. These accomplishments illustrate the dedication and commitment of the 436th Transportation Battalion and its subordinates to the 143rd TRANSCOM mission. Their efforts and accomplishments reflect great credit upon themselves, the Coalition Forces Land Component Command, the Movement Control Community and the United States Army.
1 “Brief Summary of the Unit History,” 436th Transportation Battalion, Fort Riley, KS, 1962.
5 MAJ Ronald Knopp email to Richard Killblane, November 16, 2005 11:29 pm.
6 MAJ Knopp email, MAJ Butler, “Operation Helping Hands, A humanitarian mission of the 874 MRD,” http://pao.hood.army.mil/13coscom/Coscom/archive/apr04.html, CPT Wendy Bernard, “Good News From Iraq,” http://www.operationiraqichildren.org/stories_pg3.asp
7 MEMORANDUM THRU Commander, 377th Theater Support Command, Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, APO AE 09366, from 143rd Transportation Command (Provisional) (Forward), SUBJECT: Meritorious Unit Commendation Medal for the 436th Transportation Battalion (MVT CTRL) and supporting Movement Control Teams, 28 June 2005.