DLA Distribution Guam supports Talisman Saber ’17

By DLA Distribution Guam, Marianas DLA Distribution Public Affairs

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For the seventh time, DLA Distribution Guam, Marianas, served as the primary logistical hub to support the biennial Australia/United States combined training event, Talisman Saber. 

The dedicated logistical supply chain of Talisman Saber ’17 Exercise spanned 2,500 miles from Guam to Australia where the primary theater took place between June 23 and July 25 in various locales on and around the waters of Australia.

Strategically, TS17 is a U.S. Pacific Command-sponsored exercise that trains USPACOM forces in a high-end, mid-intensity warfighting scenario involving a Combined Task Force. Operationally, the Exercise is an opportunity to improve U.S./Australian combat training, readiness, and interoperability in the region. 

Considering the fact that Australia is 2,500 miles from Guam, the same distance as it is from New York City to California, one can only imagine the logistical challenges involved in providing support for the Talisman Saber’s 21 ships, 200 plus aircraft, and 33,000 personnel.

Guam is the western most U.S. territory in the Pacific region and its strategic geographical location resulted in the establishment of major transportation routes spanning both air and ocean. The island’s access to established transportation routes allows the distribution center to be uniquely poised to provide supply and distribution functionality to customers located on Guam and throughout the Area of Responsibility up to, and including, Australia. 

Building on past experience and understanding the task at hand, DLA Distribution Guam took the lead early in the planning cycle and never looked back. From initiating working groups to developing the Exercise trans-shipment concept of operations, the team meticulously developed the support framework for execution while maintaining the flexibility and responsiveness to adapt to the customer’s needs. “This being our 7th Talisman Saber exercise, we have been able to fine tune our processes to provide the best possible support for our military,” said Macy Ooka, DLA Distribution Guam director.

Working with regional partners, the distribution center helped facilitate weekly logistics working groups to synchronize efforts across seven operational organizations. Tapping into lessons learned, the team’s processes mapped the flow of material through Guam helping to establish roles and responsibilities, trans-shipment requirements, and support timelines. 

To meet the needs of the customers, it was determined that it would be beneficial to consolidate each of the ship’s cargo into individual tri-walls. Each tri-wall was individually manifested from the site’s Material Processing Center, or MPC, with the required information to clear Australian customs, to include the material’s nomenclature, weight, and dimensions. The utilization of the tri-walls paved the way for the smooth Australian customs clearing and expedited the receipt and distribution to the U.S. ships in Australia with minimal manpower resources achieving maximum in-transit visibility.

Additionally, this showcased the versatility and flexibility of the MPC by providing the warfighter real-time access to their cargo staged on Guam. The MPC’s internet connectivity, coupled with weekly MPC Cargo On-Hand reports, provided the warfighter with real-time knowledge of cargo staged in Guam, allowing the prioritization of cargo build-up and selection for onward transport. 

The distribution center provided 24/7 cargo transportation support to Andersen Air Force Base, meeting the tasked movement schedule of events and ensuring on-time load out onto assigned Navy Air Logistics Office, or NALO, flights, which were the primary mode of transport utilized by TS17 to support intra-theater airlift support from Guam to Australia.

New to the exercise this year were an assembled team of Navy Reservists from various Continental U.S. and overseas commands. The Reservists provided unique support for the buildup of the 463L pallets to ensure NALO height and weight limitations were consistently met, and a seamless, uninterrupted transfer of cargo from the distribution center to the flight line. “Having experienced Reservists on site for this exercise aided in smooth operations because they knew what had to be done and worked as a team to ensure the mission was executed. This was one of the best teams we had the pleasure of working with,” said Ooka.

Providing cradle-to-grave planning and logistics support, DLA Distribution Guam, Marianas, enabled 25 NALO missions trans-shipping approximately 220,000 lbs. of cargo on 96 463L Air Force pallets. The operations resulted in a 215 percent increase over and above normal MPC workload. 

The sustainment of the supply lines through the Pacific was critical in the successful completion of Talisman Saber ‘17 and the Distribution team highlighted itself as a force multiplier. 

“Talisman Saber 17 was a resounding success- building on existing relationships with our warfighting customers and validating the resiliency of the logistical pipeline spanning the AOR,” concluded Ooka.