BY SHANNON R. HANEY, DIRECTOR OF CORPORATE COMMUNICATIONS, NAVSUP FLEET LOGISTICS CENTER SIGONELLA
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Helicopters are transported during an intermodal operation on board Naval Station Rota. The intermodal operation is conducted by Naval Supply Systems Command Fleet Logistics Center Sigonella annually to support transiting Army units. –photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Brian Dietrick
Naval Supply Systems Command (NAVSUP) Fleet Logistics Center (FLC) Sigonella Site Rota commenced intermodal operations for two transiting U.S. Army units onboard Naval Station (NAVSTA) Rota Dec. 1 and will conclude January 2016.
The intermodals are joint operations between the U.S. Transportation Command, U.S. European Command, U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), Surface Deployment and Distribution Command, and U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy components.
NAVSUP FLC Sigonella Site Rota is the command and control for the operations. Logistics support representatives ensure proper receipt and delivery processing to the U.S. Army units. They must create and foster close relationships with all commands involved. Establishing close mission coordination ensures a seamless strategic-to-tactical transition from port opening to distribution operations.
The operations involve transportation of freight using multiple modes of transportation. This method reduces cargo handling, improves security, reduces damage and loss, and allows freight to be transported faster. The transportation costs saved per intermodal is approximately $6 million.
NAVSTA Rota is strategically located near the Strait of Gibraltar and is the halfway point between the United States and Southwest Asia. It is the only base in the Navy region that has a port and airfield within one fence line and conducts operations 24-hours a day. This allows for the modes of transportation to change efficiently.
The deploying freight arriving from the continental United States (CONUS) consists of helicopters and cargo. It is transported on a surface vessel to NAVSTA Rota’s port. Then, the helicopters and cargo are offloaded from the surface vessel and transported to the airfield. Next, the freight is prepped for loading onto aircraft and flown into the CENTCOM area of responsibility (AOR).
Upon arrival in the CENTCOM AOR, the freight is downloaded and the aircraft is loaded with the redeploying helicopters and cargo. Following, the aircraft is flown back to NAVSTA Rota and the freight is prepped for sea. Lastly, NAVSUP FLC Sigonella Site Rota provides customs and border clearance support to units returning to the continental United States.
Crucial to the execution of the operations is the use of trained and qualified people, planning the operation well in advance, and allowing for flexibility throughout the movement. Often, having the right people and right equipment in the right place can mean the difference between success and failure.
This proved to be true when a small fire occurred on the brakes of a helicopter. The brakes became hot and started to smoke. Then, a fire flared up and Logistics Specialist 2nd Class Thomas Mills reacted quickly by extinguishing the fire with carbon dioxide. Fire services were at the scene when it happened and followed up with applying water to the brakes.