Fort Polk Guardian 03-08-2019

NewScope ECP suspended The Residential Communities Initiative Energy Conservation Program is suspend- ed until further notice. Residents should not be billed, receive rebate payouts, be charged administrative fees or receive delinquent utility charges. RCI partners will continue to monitor usage and provide residents with mock billing statements while the Army reviews current data col- lection and billing methodology. Contact your neighborhood office for more infor- mation. 75th Ranger brief Briefings for Soldiers interested in join- ing the 75th Ranger Regiment are held Thursday and March 15 at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., in Room 123 of the Fort Polk Educa- tion Center on Colorado Avenue. Email or for more information. Hiring, education event Fort Polk hosts a hiring and education event for the military community April 25 at 10 a.m. at the Warrior Fitness Center. In- formation about education and career op- portunities is offered to Soldiers, spouses, retirees, veterans and Department of the Army civilians. For more information call the Soldier for Life-Transition Assistance Program at 531- 1591. DAV assistance Disabled American Veterans Post 20, Leesville, has a new service officer, Hunter Young, to assist veterans with submitting VA disability claims by appointment only. The office is located in the Railway Suites, directly behind the Vernon Parish Court- house on La. Hwy 468. Monthly meetings are held the third Monday of each month at 7 p.m. The next meeting is March 18. Call (337) 353-4313 to schedule an appoint- ment. ASP closure The Ammunition Supply Point, bldg 4101, is closed March 19-21 for quarterly inventory. Call 531-0950/4793 for more in- formation. Tax help The Fort Polk Tax Center, located in bldg 2502, Alabama Avenue, is open Monday through Wednesday and Fridays from 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Thursdays from 11:30 a.m.-7 p.m. (except from noon-1 p.m.), and Satur- days from 9 a.m.-noon by appointment only. Call 531-1040 for an appointment. Briefs Guardian March 8, 2019 /3 ALEXANDRIA, La. — Ending an eight day journey on rivers across the U.S., 36 barges loaded with vehicles of the 626th Brigade Sup- port Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division pulled into the Central Louisiana Regional Port in Alexandria, Louisiana, Feb. 28 for the division’s rotation at the Joint Readiness Training Center and Fort Polk. As barge after barge took its place at the off load dock, 172 rotational Soldiers drove the vehi- cles from the barges and moved them to the in- termediate staging area. At the staging area, an- other 200 rotational Soldiers prepared for convoy operations to Fort Polk. “Normally we would use rail, but we are tak- ing advantage of the barge operation because it is easier and quicker. For example, rail takes a week for us to download and we’re thinking it will take us just a day to download from barge,” said Maj. Nancy Colsia 626th Brigade Support Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Air- borne Division executive officer. Battalion Command Sgt. Maj. George Birch- field explained that barges allow you to have sec- ondary loads such as tents and equipment in the vehicles, but with rail you can’t pack secondary loads. They have to be loaded into containers and on rail cars separately. “We want to have versatility. We want to have training in rail and barge operations, so we can project that combat power anywhere we’re called to go. Barge operations allow us to build imme- diate combat power. Here we’re able to unload and build that combat power at the intermediate staging base and convoy to Fort Polk. With rail we have to unload the vehicles, unload second- ary materials, load secondary materials on trucks, move to the training location and unload trucks. Barge is faster, cheaper and more effec- tive,” said Lt. Col. Larry Dean, battalion com- mander. Curtis Clark, 101st Airborne Division Trans- portation Chief, said sustainment by barge saves about $1 million dollars versus other methods. There are other advantages to barge opera- tions. Chief Warrant Officer 3 Shannon Johnson, JRTC Material Manager for Sustainment Opera- tions said having the ability to use barges gives multiple means of bringing equipment to JRTC, and the process to order a barge for transport is more streamlined than it is for any other mode of transportation. The rotational unit has more con- trol over the barge ordering and loading process, whereas arrival of line haul trucks is sporadic and uncontrollable. The arrival of the barge is usually known in advance. One of the reasons barge operations at the port are successful is the flexibility and support of the port’s tenants (oth- er businesses that use the port). “Given the size of these rotations, there is al- ways the potential for disruptions to other port tenants. However, our tenants are extremely flex- ible in assisting to ensure maximum efficiency during operations. In fact, one of our tenants has even provided breakfast for the Soldiers,” Blake Cooper, executive director of Central LA Region- al Port, said. Even though the port had not been used for 13 years for rotational units to come to JRTC, in the past 12 months there have been three rotations to use it, Cooper said. “The port has invested a considerable amount of capital, ensuring the rotational impact is mini- mal. For instance, we have improved upon our roadways and have provided additional staging capacity outside of the immediate loading area to get the equipment off the barge and ready for convoy clearances to the ISB at England Airpark or directly to Fort Polk,” he said. There are both direct and indirect benefits to using the port during JRTC rotations. “Obviously, we appreciate and support the military utilizing barge transport. There is a di- rect impact to the port's revenue. However, these operations also add indirect benefits. During the rotations you have contractors and other vendors staying in area hotels and eating at local restau- rants. More than anything, the port's mission rel- ative to the rotations is to support the readiness of the Soldiers and the effectiveness of the train- ing exercises held at Fort Polk,” Cooper said. As important as deployment capability via barge is to rotational units and the JRTC, not everyone is aware of it. “I didn’t have the big picture, but I have it now,” said Alexandria Mayor Jeffrey Hall. “This is the main artery part of operations, so we have to be a part of it. Alexandria will continue to sup- port units like the 101st and ongoing JRTC train- ing. We consider Alexandria and the broader central Louisiana area a military community. The military is part of our fabric and our history. So many times, we speak of the economic impact, but it is much bigger than that. We want our Sol- diers to know they are welcome and appreciated in central Louisiana.” Vehicles delivered by barge via regional port By KEITH HOUIN Public affairs specialist Soldiers from 626th Brigade Support Battalion, 3rd Brigade CombatTeam, 101st Airborne Division off-load ve- hicles from barges at the Cen- tral Louisiana Regional Port in Alexandria, Louisiana. KEITH HOUIN / PUBLIC AFFAIRS SPECIALIST