The 39th Transportation Battalion (MC) units deploy to execute movement control support to theater Reception, Staging, Onward-movement and Integration operations and theater distribution operations in full spectrum operation environments.
Mission: The 39th Movement Control Battalion provides tailored and adaptive transportation, expeditionary logistical capabilities for transportation, movement control and distribution in support of U.S. European Command, supporting the deployment, re-deployment and sustainment of forces; provides well-trained and equipped deployable units to support combatant commanders and overseas contingency operations; and provides transportation and movement control support to the EUCOM area of responsibility (AOR) and, on order, to the U.S. Africa Command area of responsibility. Follow Us on:
The lineage of the 39th Movement Control Battalion dates back to 1936 when it was first designated as the 2nd Battalion, 21st Quartermaster Regiment. On 1 May 1936, the 21st Quartermaster Regiment was constituted and assigned three subordinate commands: the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Battalions. Almost six years later, on 1 April 1942, the Regiment was redesignated as the 21st Quartermaster Truck Regiment and activated with its three battalions on 16 April 1942 at Fort Benning, Georgia.
The 21st Quartermaster Truck Regiment was the first full truck regiment assembled under one command at one station. A regimental review under the command of Colonel Ellis Altman was held at Fort Benning on 27 September 1942. The regiment, which was primarily comprised of African-American Soldiers arrived at Camp Anza, California (Arlington Staging Area) on 10 January 1943 to make final preparations for deployment to the Middle Eastern Theater; on 19 January 1943 the unit departed Camp Anza. The soldiers of the 21st Quartermaster Truck Regiment were among 6000 personnel, male and female, white and colored, who embarked on 19 January 1943 aboard the USS Monticello. The "4201 Shipment" departed Wilmington, California harbor at 0800 hours, 20 January and reached Bombay, India on 3 March 1943.
On 1 December 1943, the 21st Regiment was reorganized and its three battalions were redesignated as Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment (HHD), 36th Quartermaster Battalion; HHD, 39th Quartermaster Battalion and HHD, 108th Quartermaster Battalion. The lettered companies, E through H, were redesignated 3305th through 3308th Quartermaster Truck Companies respectively and assigned to the 39th Quartermaster Battalion. There is sufficient evidence to suggest that the 39th Quartermaster Battalion (Mobile) played a significant role in the building of the Ledo Road (later named Stilwell Road) connecting India to China. Research indicates that the 21st Quartermaster Group, the 39th Battalion's higher headquarters operated from the border area of Ledo, India and Assam, Burma and from Myitkyina, Burma during the India-Burma and Central Burma Campaigns from 1942 to 1945.
The U.S. Army Center of Military History has documented that only a few American combat troops served in the China-Burma-India Theater of Operation. Yet one can hardly call the CBI an ignored theater. It occupied a prominent place in Allied councils, as Americans sought an early Allied commitment to reopening China's lifeline so that China could tie down massive numbers of Japanese troops and serve as a base for air, naval, and eventually amphibious operations against the Japanese home islands. The American media, with its romantic fascination with China and the Burma Road, followed the campaigns closely and kept its audience informed on Vinegar Joe Stilwell and Merrill's Marauders. Interest in the theater did drop after early 1944 as estimates of China's military capability declined, but Allied leaders continued to keep a close eye on developments in a region where they still felt they had much at stake. For the American supply services, their performance in the CBI Theater represented one of their finest hours. The tremendous distances, the difficult terrain, the inefficiencies in transport, and the complications of Indian politics presented formidable obstacles to efficient logistics. Nevertheless, by early 1944, American logisticians had developed an efficient supply system whose biggest problem was the time needed to ship material from the United States. Despite the skepticism of the British and other observers, American engineers overcame the rugged mountains and rain forests of North Burma to complete the Stilwell Road which, joined to the old Burma Road, reopened the line to China. A tremendous feat of engineering, the Stilwell Road deservedly earned considerable applause. The building of what became known as the Stilwell Road was undoubtedly a remarkable achievement, involving the toil of thousands of engineers, quartermaster transportation units and laborers constructing a road through thick jungle valleys and over steep mountain ranges under most adverse conditions.
During 1945, when existing trails between Myitkyina and the old Burma Road made the road work less arduous, perhaps the most spectacular feature of the construction of the road from an engineering perspective was the erection of a number of bridges, particularly those over the Irrawaddy and Shweli Rivers. Yet no sooner had the Stilwell Road reached completion than deliveries over it were overshadowed by the Hump airlift. Moreover, after the pipeline to Kunming was placed in operation, deliveries through it exceeded those carried over the road. However, the Stilwell Road was not to be in use for long. Nine months after its opening and with the arrival of C-54 aircraft into the theater on 1 November 1945, the road was abandoned.
During the early fall of 1945, the 39th Quartermaster Battalion departed the CBI Theater. Following the 39th Battalion's service in the China-Burma Theater of Operation, the battalion was inactivated at Camp Kilmer, New Jersey, on 7 November 1945. While on inactive status it was converted and redesignated as Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 39th Transportation Corps Truck Battalion on 1 August 1946.
The 39th Battalion was reactivated at Camp Gordon, Georgia, on 3 August 1954. It was reorganized and redesignated as HHD, 39th Movement Control Battalion on 25 June 1959.
The U.S. Army had entered an advisory role in the war in South Vietnam in 1961. The communist North Vietnamese government sponsored a Communist insurgency in the hopes of toppling the South Vietnamese government. Because the advisory effort did not seem to stem the tide of insurgency, the U.S. Army assumed a greater role in the ground war in Vietnam during the summer of 1965. This resulted in a large buildup of forces, which was met by a great incursion by the North Vietnamese Army. The next year, General William Westmoreland asked President Lyndon B. Johnson for an additional increment of troops. Like the earlier deployment, this one required an additional truck battalion to each support base.
The 39th Battalion left Fort Benning, Georgia, and arrived in Vietnam on 31 July 1966. It was initially stationed at Cam Ranh Bay in southern II Corps where it picked up truck companies from the 10th Terminal Battalion (Terminal). The Vietnam War was a fought as a guerrilla war, without any front lines. The enemy struck at will then withdrew to safety in the jungle or into one of its sanctuaries across the border. For the first year that the 39th Battalion was in Vietnam, the guerrillas only harassed convoys with sniping and planting mines. The lines of communication usually stretched from a military port such as Cam Ranh Bay to the customer. The direct haul mission from Cam Ranh Bay ran through the Central Highlands of II Tactical Corps Area. The short haul ran one-day round trips from Cam Ranh Bay along Highway 1, coastal highway, north to Nha Trang and Ninh Hoa or south to Phan Rang. Long hauls went north and turned west on Highway 21 to Ban Me Thout, or straight west from Cam Ranh Bay along Highway 11 to Da Lat and Bao Loc. On a long haul, the convoy would drive up one day and return the next. On 28 November 1966, it moved north to Thuy Hoa in the II Corps Tactical Zone. Thuy Hoa had an Air Force Base and needed support. Just south of Thuy Hoa was Vung Rho Bay, which had one DeLong Pier and one tie up for petroleum tanker that pumped fuel into a pipeline that ran along an old abandoned railroad track right of way that ran to the air port. The 39th Battalion took two truck companies with it to Thuy Hoa. The 39th Battalion just supported the air base. It hauled cargo and ammo to the Air Force base. They did night convoys from the beach to the air base. One night, a convoy was attacked when it drove through a village. It involved small arms fire and someone threw a hand grenade in a jeep and killed two or three men. The battalion stopped running night convoys for a while. Then they started running night convoys later.
In the spring of 1967, the battalion moved back to Cam Ranh Bay and its truck companies were reassigned to the 28th General Support Group (GSG) at Thuy Hoa. It then moved south to Phan Rang in late 1967. On 2 September 1967, the ambush of a convoy in northern II Corps Tactical Zone destroyed or damaged 30 out of 37 vehicles. The 8th Transportation Group's immediate response was to build gun trucks. However, the truck units operating out of Cam Ranh Bay would not see the need to build gun trucks for at least another year.
In the early 1980's, the United States Army Europe recognized its readiness shortfalls in the movement control arena and resource actions were processed to acquire uniformed units and other force structure to meet the most critical needs. The needs were identified in the USAREUR Transportation Operational and Organizational Plan or TROOP.
One of the most sweeping organizational changes was the conversion of table of distribution and allowances (TDA) movement control teams to modified table of organization and equipment (MTOE) movement control teams. Additionally, TROOP identified the need to have adequate headquarters to command and control several subordinate movement control teams and highway regulating teams. The TROOP plan proposed that two of the three existing movement region headquarters under the 4th TRANSCOM convert to MTOE 55-500 Team AD (Battalion Headquarters) with an assigned MTOE 55-580 LD Team (Movement Control) to serve as the movement region operation center. As TROOP was implemented in 1985 the existing 2nd Movements Region, located at Rhine Ordnance Barracks, Kaiserslautern, Germany, was converted from a TDA to an MTOE organization. The 2nd MR had three subordinate movement control teams in Kaiserslautern, Mannheim, and Idar Oberstein; three Highway Regulating Teams in Karlsruhe, Saarbruecken, and Koblenz; and two Rail Movements Offfices in Karlsruhe and Saarbruecken.
While USAREUR was implementing the necessary changes to the movement control organizational structure in the mid-1980's, U.S. Army TRADOC and the United States Army Transportation Center was concurrently studying movement control doctrine and identified similar requirements needed throughout the Army. One of the outcomes was to establish transportation battalion headquarters as the basis for command and control over movement control teams. Suffice to say, a number of distinguished transportation battalions were inactivated following heroic service during World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War, many of which remain on inactive status today. In early 1985, it was determined that the 2nd Movements Region Headquarters would be renamed the 39th Movement Control Battalion. Officially, on 16 February 1986, after 14 years on inactive status, the 39th Movement Control Battalion (Movement Control) was reactivated at Rhine Ordnance Barracks assuming the mission of the 2nd Movements Region.
On 12 April 2004, the 39th Movement Control Battalion Headquarters deployed to Bagram, Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF). The 39th deployed with 10 personnel and their organic 618th Movement Control Team (MCT) from Germany to replace the 330th Movement Control Battalion (MCB). This was the first MCB to be deployed for a twelve month duration in support of OEF. The unit fell directly under the Joint Logistics Command (JLC) (25th Infantry Division DISCOM) who provided direct combat logistical service support to the Combined Joint Task Force-76, Afghanistan (CJTF-76). The 39th Trans Bn mission was to control the movements of personnel, units and material within, and out of the CJTF-76 AOR and ensure effective and efficient use of all available fixed wing, rotary wing and commercial transportation assets. The 39th Trans Bn worked in a combined joint logistic environment where they had Air Force, Marines and contractors directly attached to the unit. To complete their mission, the 39th Trans Bn had three Area Movement Control Teams that were task organized with three Cargo Documentation Teams, and two Cargo Transfer Platoons dispersed throughout the Combined Joint Operation Afghanistan Combined/Joint Operations Area (CJOA) in Bagram (BAF), Kandahar (KAF), Salerno (SAL), and Shindand. The battalion also had a contractor run MCT in Karshi-Kanabad (K2), Uzbekistan and three MCT Liaison teams that were located in Rhein Main AB, Germany, Manas AB, Kyrgyzstan, and Arifjan, Kuwait. The 39th MCB had a total of 213 airmen, soldiers, marines, and civilians working in 5 different countries to support Operation Enduring Freedom.
To handle their tasks they ran 24 hour operations, 7 days a week for the full 12 months they were deployed. The battalion was divided into an air and surface section, along with a plans section and two battle captains. Daily, the battalion was directly responsible for validating movement requests from all CJTF-76 components. They provided daily ITV to the JLC Commander for strategic moves, sensitive cargo and sustainment as requested. They coordinated, scheduled, tracked and reported the flow of forces into and out of the Combined/Joint Operations Area (CJOA) through the TPFFD process. Coordinated onward movement and delivery of containers where they dealt directly with commercial carriers, SDDC, DLA, and 1st TMCA. They were also the container manager for all containers within the CJTF-76 CJOA, which consisted of over 10,000 containers. Finally, they were JLC's "green sheet" authority for expediting mission essential sensitive cargo into the CJOA. To accomplish such a broad and diverse mission the battalion relied heavily on the support of its MCTs. The 618th MCT located in BAF and the 960th MCT located in KAF were responsible for the management, control, and tracking of all air and surface transportation requirements in their AO. To complete their mission each MCT had a Cargo Documentation Team (CDT) and a Cargo Transfer Platoon attached to their unit. These attached team/platoons were instrumental in handling the high volume of sustainment containers, deployment and redeployment equipment that passed through their respective logistical hub. The 870th MCT and the 873rd CDT were originally located in K2, but were reorganized to stand-up a MCT in forward operating base Salerno, to provide air and surface movement control to the RC East Region (Kowst Bowl) of the Combined/Joint Operations Area (CJOA). The "Shindand MCT" was organized at the mid-point of the deployment, after green on green fighting occurred in the late summer of 04. They provided movement control support in RC West Region of the Combined/Joint Operations Area; this MCT had 8 soldiers that were pulled from the BAF MCT. The K2 MCT, which was made up entirely of contracted KBR civilians, and the four LNO teams were largely responsible for providing MCT support and guidance in their AO. They were detrimental in keeping the battalion headquarters informed about all the missions and movements that were to enter or depart the Combined/Joint Operations Area through their respective AO. The LNO teams were made up from the MCTs located throughout the theatre and allowed soldiers an opportunity to work in different and unique locations during the deployment. The 39th Movement Control Battalion accomplished an incredible amount during their 12 month deployment in support of OEF. When they arrived to the (CJOA) they hit the ground running as they were immediately tasked with several missions that they flawlessly executed. The first mission they undertook was the coordinating, tracking, and reporting of the 10th Infantry Division's redeployment and the 25th Infantry Division's deployment. This involved the onward movement of over 26,000 pax and the coordination and transportation of over 2,700 pieces of equipment. During the relief in place (RIP) the battalion also provided reception, staging and onward movement support to the 22 Marine Expeditionary Unit Deployment landing in KAF (2,200 pax and 350 pcs) and the Jordanian Special Operation Force Deployment (200 pax and 30 pcs). These are a prime example of the multiple complex missions the MCT's and the battalion would handle throughout their deployment.
A key success factor for the battalion was flexibility. This was attributed to its ability to reorganize and task organize for effective transportation support as the dynamic of the Afghanistan theatre changed throughout the deployment. When 10th Mountain arrived in 2003 their mission was to eradicate the Taliban, Al Quaida and HIQ cells and bring peace and stability to Afghanistan. By the time 25th ID took over in 2004, their mission turned to developing a more structured, stabile and logistically supported theatre, where they still went out and hunted down terrorist cells, but they also offered a long term solution toward peace and prosperity; supporting the first national election in 5 years was a perfect example of their goals. To offer this security the theatre had to move to a more economical logistic support where they no longer relied solely on fix-wing and rotary wing to support their FOBs. They had to develop multiple lines of communications that included surface support. This action relied heavily on the local commercial carriers to provide this support. The battalion's experience with movement control in Germany was a key to turning the theatre from a non-doctrinal to doctrinal movement control theatre where the coordination and control of limited transportation assets became essential. The MCB was extremely valuable in offering its expertise and supporting the growing Combined/Joint Operations Area (CJOA). When CJTF-76 established a logistical hub in Salerno, to effectively support the RC East Region, where many forward operating bases (FOB) were located along the Afghan/Pakistan border; the battalion sent a nine man team to stand-up a provisional MCT. The team took direct control over both the fix-wing and rotary wing support operations and the surface operations in Salerno. The MCB was also essential in coordinating and establishing Shindand forward operating base, which supported Afghan National Army and Special Forces soldiers that were sent to quell the green on green fighting that took place in western Afghanistan. In less then 48 hours, they planned, scheduled and tracked 30 flights of over 200 short tons of equipment to support the Shindand FOB; then deployed an 8 man team to provide MCT support to the region. Finally, the battalion was also able to support missions outside the CJTF-76 realm.
They sent a four person team to Jacobabad, Pakistan to assist the Air Force in the movement of over 450 pieces of equipment to over 5 different countries, in order to help them close their air base prior to the December deadline. Just another stunning example of the support the battalion gave to all components in the Combined/Joint Operations Area (CJOA). One of the most complex and difficult missions the battalion took on was the commercial container management. Prior to their arrival there was absolutely no container management or control of commercial movement from the port. The lack of control was costing the government millions of dollars a day as the commercial carriers charged them for container demurrage. Through the SDDC counterparts and commercial shipping firms, the battalion was responsible for calling forward commercial sustainment containers from the port of Karachi, tracking their movement and closing out their arrival to bases. They were then responsible for tracking every container that remained in the country ensuring they were pushed back to the carrier as soon as possible to avoid expensive demurrage charges. The task of container management was centralized at the battalion headquarters where on average over 10,000 containers a day were tracked and eventually returned to the commercial company; saving the government millions of dollars and supported the Combined/Joint Operations Areas (CJOA) vast sustainment requirements. The 39th Movement Control Battalion had an incredible impact on the success of the CJTF-76 operations. During a year where Afghanistan took great strides toward becoming a free and stable country, the battalion was there to provide expert movement control support. They were instrumental in coordinating, tracking and reporting the movement of over 70,000 personnel, 8000 pieces of equipment and over 25,000 commercial containers into, within and out of the Combined/Joint Operations Area (CJOA). Their efforts and ability to change and contribute to the growing theater environment made them an invaluable asset to the CJTF-76. On April, 13 2005 the Battalion redeployed to their home station of Kaiserslautern, Germany. Their 12 month deployment in Afghanistan proved once again, that no matter where they have to go or what they have to do, they will always live up to their motto -- "We'll Carry You."
Lt. Col. Brandon H. Ungetheim