The Korean Peninsula: Since Korean War hostilities ended in the 1950s, the U.S. military has been present and ready to protect allies in the region. More recently, rising tensions in the area have made it all the more important that U.S. forces deployed there be trained and equipped to deal with any potential event.
To make sure the Defense Logistics Agency is ready to support those forces, DLA Distribution earlier this year participated in Operation Pacific Reach, a combined distribution exercise held in South Korea every other year.
This year’s exercise at Dogu Beach in Pohang, April 10-21, supported training on critical facets of the Korean Theater of Operations’ operational plan. Pacific Reach is one of three exercises, along with Key Resolve 2017 and Pacific Pathways 2017, held in the area in the same period to ensure the United States Forces Korea and 8th Army units are logistically ready to support the defense of the Republic of Korea.
DLA Distribution Expeditionary participated, in addition to DLA Distribution Korea. DLA Distribution Expeditionary supports global distribution requirements that can’t be met by DLA’s fixed network of distribution centers. For theater deployments, DLA Distribution Expeditionary’s goals are based on the combatant commanders’ requirements.
For Pacific Reach 2017, DLA Distribution Expeditionary established a consolidation and shipping point at an austere location. The exercise focused on logistical operations from the air, sea and shore to transport mission equipment across the Korean Peninsula using utility and mechanized landing craft, logistics support vessels and causeway ferries.
About 1,200 Republic of Korea Forces and 2,500 U.S. personnel participated in this year’s exercise, but the expeditionary theater contingency support plan supported not only the exercise participants, but also all 26,000 U.S. personnel stationed on the Peninsula as they were moving real-world cargo.
The exercise confirmed the logistical requirements of the infrastructure on the Korean Peninsula and the ability of U.S. logistical entitles to meet them. The role of DLA Distribution Expeditionary was to deploy expeditionary capability to support the 19th Expeditionary Sustainment Command and DLA Distribution Korea throughout the exercise. DLA Distribution Expeditionary enhanced the USFK Theater Distribution Plan by establishing an ExTCSP, which provided real-time support to all units stationed in Korea. Although it was an exercise for 8th Army units, the DLA Distribution Expeditionary and DLA Distribution Korea team executed the daily full-time mission of DLA Distribution Korea.
Although many aspects of the exercise used hypothetical cargo, the materiel that flowed through the ExTCSP was not. It was regular cargo that normally would have moved within South Korea, to Camp Carroll from Osan Air Force Base or Busan Seaport, but was instead routed to Pohang and processed by the ExTCSP team. The materiel contained critical repair parts, along with sustainment cargo ordered by units across the peninsula.
“If the ExTCSP had not been successful, DLA Distribution Korea would have failed its customers,” said DLA Distribution Korea Deputy Commander David Harris. “We took a big risk using real-world cargo for this exercise but had the utmost faith that the DLA Distribution Expeditionary team and the DLA Distribution Korea transportation team could make this work.”
During normal operations, Air Lines of Communication cargo arrives in Korea at Osan Air Force Base in the northern part of the country. Ocean cargo arrives at Busan harbor in the south. This cargo is routed to DLA Distribution Korea at Camp Carroll for processing and onward movement to customers.
For the exercise, DLA Distribution Expeditionary and transportation personnel from DLA Distribution Korea worked closely with the 837th Transportation Battalion at Busan, the 731st Air Mobility Squadron at Osan, and the Army 25th Transportation Battalion at Camp Carroll, and had the materiel routed from Osan and Busan to the ExTCSP at Pohang. Additionally, all the dedicated trucks that support USFK customers were staged at Pohang rather than Camp Carroll, and their schedules were adjusted so they could still meet delivery requirements at the forward supply support activities across the Korean Peninsula.
The commander of DLA Distribution was pleased with what the organization achieved.
“Over the course of the exercise, the DLA Distribution Expeditionary team and DLA Distribution Korea team moved more than 137,000 pounds of materiel through the expeditionary theater consolidation and shipping point in Pohang,” said Army Brig. Gen. John S. Laskodi.
The two teams delivered this materiel to 50 different 8th Army and USFK customers across South Korea, he noted.
Likewise, the commander of DLA Distribution Korea also had praise for what the two groups achieved.
“The collective team did a phenomenal job ensuring all material was accurately processed and shipped to the respective customers on time, while keeping our metrics ‘green,’” said Army Lt. Col. Gary Whittacre. “The exercise further helped validate our current concept of support while providing a few lessons learned, to include living in an Army Logistics Support Area.”
“It was a tremendous demonstration of DLA Distribution’s expeditionary capabilities, and it took a total team effort to make this a success.” Laskodi said.