Logistics Supporting the GSM Task Force

by Captain James V. Hintz III and Major Lester W. Pinkney

The logistics arena has always received a great deal of scrutiny during and after military operations. For the most part, existing techniques, tactics and procedures (TTP) have focused on the maneuver battlefield operating system. The TTP draw upon captured data to reduce the probability of a support structure lacking the personnel, equipment and supplies required to ensure success. During our most recent deployment, to Operation JOINT ENDEAVOR, we identified the importance of logistics in support of intelligence teams. Our Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (Joint STARS) Ground Station Module (GSM) task force (TF) we called ourselves TF Rotkoff consisted of ten task-organized GSM teams with personnel from several different posts in the Continental United States (CONUS). This article provides an overview of how TF Rotkoff planned, deployed, and executed logistics operations in support of GSM teams deployed in Hungary, Italy, and Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Early and Coordinated Planning

The deployment of the GSMs in support of Operation JOINT ENDEAVOR presented a unique challenge because it did not consist of a direct or general support intelligence and electronic warfare (IEW) team assigned to a division or corps. In this instance, intelligence soldiers, civilians, and equipment deployed from seven CONUS locations. These included Fort Hood, Texas; Fort Bragg, North Carolina; Fort Huachuca, Arizona; Fort Monmouth, New Jersey; Hunter Army Airfield, Georgia; the Operational Test and Evaluation Command (OPTEC); and the Joint Test Force from Melbourne, Florida. We deployed to Europe with contractors from Motorola to form TF Rotkoff at Rhein Main Air Force Base, Germany. Each element of the task force worked with a number of Air Force and Army movement teams to execute their transition to Rhein Main.
The first elements from the 303d Military Intelligence (MI) Battalion at Fort Hood deployed from Robert Gray Army Airfield within two days of receiving the order from the Joint Chiefs of Staff. In less than ten days, the entire task force had assembled at the intermediate staging base-main operating base (ISB/MOB) at Rhein Main. The ability of all the elements to deploy rapidly was due in part to planning meetings conducted at Fort Hood with representatives from each of the elements and units deploying as TF Rotkoff. These planning meetings provided the opportunity to discuss and develop detailed movement and load plans for deploying personnel and equipment. We considered details such as the need for additional vehicles to ensure seating for Motorola contractors, movement of the GSM-specific Prescribed Load List and Authorized Stockage List, and maintenance support. For example, as we reviewed the maintenance support options, we tailored teams based on their deployed site locations and the likelihood of cross-country movement or convoy requirements. After establishing that the team supporting the 5th United Kingdom Division would move from Split, Croatia, some 200 kilometers (km) to Gornji Vakuf, Bosnia, we augmented the team with a wheeled vehicle mechanic (military occupational specialty (MOS) 63B). Conversely, support that deployed to Italy with the GSM teams was, for the most part, centralized at Aviano. Given the essential task of conducting operations for up to 179 days, all teams were reinforced with an air conditioning and generator mechanic (MOS 52D), an IEW repairman (MOS 33T), and a Motorola technician. This decision allowed the TF to maintain systems at an operational readiness of 97 percent for more than four months.
We next attempted to reduce our airlift requirements. During this process, U.S. Army Europe (USAREUR) indicated we could acquire camouflage netting in theater which helped reduce our airlift needs. Aircraft type also determined the airlift necessary. For instance, the Medium Ground Station Module (MGSM) required either C-5 or C-17 aircraft support for airlift due to the height of the vehicle with the shelter; the use of C-141s would have required crane support at locations in CONUS, the ISB/MOB, and at airfields in Hungary, Italy, and Bosnia, to mount and remove shelters on vehicles. This need significantly increased the amount of time necessary to move elements into their final sites. Therefore, the planners at Forts Bragg and Hood worked unremittingly for C-5 and C-17 support, and the Air Force delivered.
Another element that assisted in our ability to deploy quickly was the establishment of push teams. These push teams consisted of an officer and noncommissioned officer in charge that assumed the responsibility for executing many of the final administrative requirements needed to put our equipment on the aircraft. Push teams successfully walked GSM elements through the joint inspection, handled all hazardous material (HAZMAT) requirements, built pallets, and controlled the aircraft manifest of the unit personnel. Additionally, vehicles deploying from Fort Hood were painted with sand color camouflage the weekend before the first aircraft arrived. Again, members of the push team and the maintenance section, under the control of our very capable maintenance technician, planned, coordinated, and executed vehicle preparation, technical inspections, and a demanding cycle of vehicle painting.

Flexibility And Anticipation

Our preparation for deployment included inspections and updates of each company's Automated Unit Equipment Load documents. Beginning August 1995, the 303d MI Battalion conducted monthly movement working groups that enhanced our readiness posture as equipment requirements and operational site locations continually changed. The 319th MI Battalion from Fort Bragg, North Carolina, based its initial movement planning on data associated with the Improved GSM (IGSM). This later changed as the Department of the Army directed the fielding of five MGSMs to the unit. This change required the unit to undergo new equipment training and reconfigured the air load planning documents. The availability of on-site contractors enhanced their ability to quickly train soldiers and was instrumental in preventing any delay in the TF's deployment.
As we executed last minute planning, some confusion surrounded our ammunition-draw location (CONUS or outside CONUS (OCONUS)) for all TF elements. Although USAREUR agreed that drawing ammunition (supply Class V) OCONUS would simplify movement requirements, Forces Command directed us to move with ammunition. This requirement dictated special airlift and handling requirements for M203 (40-millimeter) ammunition and other administrative requirements to move and store Class V at the ISB/MOB. Had we drawn ammunition in theater, we would have simplified the turn-in process and the accountability of ammunition upon notification of redeployment. As it was, neither the teams in Sarajevo (319th MI Battalion) and Gornji Vakuf (303d MI Battalion) nor the supporting headquarters could identify turn-in locations in Sarajevo. Therefore, both teams coordinated to redeploy back home with their ammunition. The TF Headquarters experienced similar problems at the ISB/MOB and also coordinated redeploying with the remaining Class V. Clearly this type of deployment should allow units to establish accounts and draw ammunition upon arrival in theater.

Movement To Forward Sites

After arriving at the MOB, our challenge became the deployment of the systems to their final destinations in Hungary, Italy, and Bosnia. In reality, this meant ten mini-deployments, each with its own challenges and peculiarities. Planning the deployment of each system was slow and continually changed due to the lack of guidance concerning final site selection, supporting units, and aircraft weather delays. Once we finalized the site selections, systems deployed to locations in Italy at San Vito, Aviano, and Vicenza; two IGSMs to Rhein Main Air Force Base; two MGSMs to Hungary at Taszar and Kapsovar; and five systems to Bosnia-Herzegovina at Gornji Vakuf, Sarajevo, Tuzla, Biejla, and Vlasenica.
The 319th MI Battalion assisted in planning the forward deployment of GSMs by integrating one of its air movement planners into the TF headquarters. Her ability to quickly identify and plan for Air Force procedural requirements streamlined much of the red tape associated with air movement in the theater. In this instance, the dedicated air load planners and HAZMAT-certified soldiers in theater were essential. We were also fortunate in that the Air Force movements officer was a true team player and became dual-hatted as an Army LNO to the Air Force.

Push Packages Assisted Sustainment

The U.S. European Command (EUCOM) Logistics Plan was a combination of United States Air Force Europe (USAFE) and USAEUR support. EUCOM identified USAFE to support the GSM teams in Italy and Germany, and USAEUR to provide support to those deployed in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Hungary. This concept was hindered primarily for four reasons: Therefore, what took place initially was a mixture of using our contacts, local purchase, and sustainment supplies that we had built for 20 to 25 days rather than the normal 15 days. The key is that soldiers remained flexible, persevered and never took no as an answer. We also maintained supporting documentation (like the EUCOM Logistical Concept) on hand and persistently educated supporting agencies and headquarters on our mission and requirements.
One of the peculiar challenges encountered by the task force was resupply of Class IX (repair parts) to the teams attached to the British and French units. We obtained classes I (subsistence) and III (petroleum, oil, and lubricants) support relatively easily from these allies, but Class IX and GSM-peculiar parts were difficult to move to the teams. We began the practice of assembling push packages which were boxes or pallets with parts, computer equipment, and anything else the teams were requesting such as shower shoes or tobacco. The push packages were taken to the sites or put on an aircraft, flown forward with other cargo, downloaded by the airfield Tactical Airload Coordination Element, and given to a GSM team member on the ground. Certain parts (such as M998 glow plugs and batteries) were critical items throughout the deployment due to the extreme cold weather of the region.

Redeployment of GSM Teams

Planning for the redeployment home began in February 1996, two months before the last of our GSM teams would leave Bosnia. The task force staff in conjunction with Motorola conducted planning sessions and developed three courses of action (COAs) with associated advantages and disadvantages. These COAs were
We also considered a combination of the three COAs. The Commander, 4500th Joint STARS Squadron, decided that COA1 the most feasible. COA1 required only one airlift per team rather than the two needed with an ISB and substantially reduced the amount of coordination required. EUCOM agreed with the selection of COA1 at a planning meeting and coordinated with the Air Component Command for airlift. As with the forward GSM deployment, the staff developed a "by-site" timeline, identifying requirements as well as the EADs/LADs. With three teams moving through Tuzla Air Base, we arranged the movement of each team to ensure the availability of space for personnel at TF Eagle and the vehicles at the airfield. It was during our planning of the deployment that we determined each team might actually require an air load planner who was HAZMAT certified. Fortunately the company executive officer at Bijela, Bosnia, and the team leader at Taszar, Hungary, were both qualified air load planners who worked with Air Force movement teams at Tuzla and Taszar to resolve any HAZMAT issues. For the teams in Sarajevo and Gornji Vakuf, who redeployed via the airfield in Sarajevo, requirements were less stringent, and the team leaders coordinated most of the movement. However, to ensure a smooth redeployment home, we moved an air load- and HAZMAT-certified soldier to Sarajevo.
Although our movement requirements were less rigorous in terms of cleanliness during redeployment, the teams had to clean the vehicles and equipment as best they could. The TF Headquarters moved materials for cleaning in Bosnia and Hungary just as it had repair parts, while team leaders coordinated for areas to wash vehicles. The TF coordinated customs inspections in Hungary and Italy, and for the other teams at their points of entry in CONUS. For some teams, this reduced the amount of time soldiers had to wait before seeing their families.
As the GSM teams moved from the theater to CONUS, the TF Headquarters monitored air flow and arranged for billeting and arms-room storage at all the intermediate stops. The staff also provided information to home-station units including the flight manifest, equipment, and communications security items. Hazardous material on board was also included. This information enhanced the preparedness of the reception team, an element designed specifically to receive returning soldiers and download the aircraft. Each day we coordinated with the GSM teams to ensure they were aware of air flow changes. When flights going into Bosnia, Hungary, and Italy and returning to CONUS were delayed, moved forward, or canceled, our coordination ensured teams were aware of the changes and, if required, were prepared to move ahead of schedule. Home-station units used flight information passed by the TF to keep family members aware of the timeframes in which the soldiers and teams would arrive. Throughout the redeployment, it remained essential for the TF to coordinate daily with home-station units, the 4500th Joint STARS Squadron headquarters and staff, USAREUR, EUCOM, the Air Force and Army movement representatives from Germany to Bosnia, and contacts at the intermediate stops.


Overall, our first-time deployment and integration of the MGSM and LGSM into the operation centers of major headquarters in support of a real-world mission was successful. The characteristics of logistics (anticipation, integration, continuity, responsiveness, and improvisation) were no less important during this deployment and employment of GSMs than they would be to a maneuver force. A combination of push packages and support coordinated by USAREUR and USAFE sustained our soldiers supporting major headquarters some 200 to 700 km apart. To the greatest extent possible, the TF attempted to reduce the burden of logistics on the company commanders. Sometimes that support was not as timely as we would have liked, but it was effective and allowed the teams to sustain operations. Hopefully, our future deployments of this nature will incorporate some of the information presented here and help to avoid some of the barriers we encountered.
Captain Jimmy Hintz is the Logistics Officer for the 303d Military Intelligence Battalion (Operations), Fort Hood, Texas. His previous assignment was in the 1-3 Air Defense Artillery at Fort Carson, Colorado, where he served as a platoon leader, battery executive officer, and as battalion S2. He is a graduate of Benedictine College of Atchison, Kansas, with a bachelor of arts degree in Political Science. Readers can contact Captain Hintz at (817) 288-9590/ 9641, DSN 738-9590/9641, and via E-mail [email protected]
Major Pinkney is currently the G2 Plans Officer in III Corps at Fort Hood, Texas. During the Joint STARS GSM deployment, he served as the TF Rotkoff Operations and Executive Officer (XO). His previous assignments include XO of the 303d MI Battalion; Plans and Targeting Officer, .U.S. Army Forces Central Command Observer-Controller at the Combat Maneuver Training Center; Commander, Alpha Company of the 303d MI Battalion; and III Corps Electronic Warfare Officer. The author has a bachelor of science degree in Electrical Engineering from Prairie View A&M University and is a graduate of the Command and General Staff College. Major Pinkney can be contacted at commercial (817) 287-9644, DSN 737-9644, and through E-mail at pinkneyl @ hood-emh3. army. mil.