Story by SSG Armando Limon on 06/09/2017SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii Soldiers, vehicles and equipment of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, "Broncos," 25th Infantry Division, are traveling by air and sea for preparation of Lightning Kokua this month taking place at Pohakuloa Training Area (PTA) on the Big Island of Hawaii.
Lightning Kokua is a three month-long gunnery and exercise involving all of the brigade's battalions, including 3rd Battalion, 7th Field Artillery Regiment and 25th Division Artillery, 25th ID.
"We are using multiple modes of transportation, air and sea, at multiple nodes, Wheeler Army Airfield, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Waipio Point, and Bradshaw Army Airfield," said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Miguel Flores, mobility officer, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 3rd BCT.
Flores said about 3,500 Soldiers and 500 pieces of equipment are moving to PTA from April to July.
"It took months of coordination," he said. "I had to consistently communicate with both the Air Force and 8th Theater Sustainment Command to ensure our plan and changes to our plan were understood. I spent many hours creating and reconfiguring air and vessel load plans."
At WAAF, Air Force Staff Sgt. Andrew Shanahorn, assigned to 647th Logistics Readiness Squadron, 647th Air Base Group, 15th Wing, ensured the loading of a light medium tactical vehicle (LMTV) and M777A2 155mm howitzer assigned to 3-7th FAR was done correctly.
"We're conducting a joint inspection for a unit movement to make sure all cargo is airworthy, and it's 100 percent safe for flight to the aircraft," Shanahorn said, "so there's no issues or anything like that. Just making sure everything's okay and there's compliance in all regulations within the Defense Transportation regulation and Air Mobility Command regulations."
"I would say the biggest issue is understanding between the different services on regulations," he continued.
For Senior Airman Victor Mendoza, assigned to 647th Logistics Readiness Squadron, 647th Air Base Group, 15th Wing, this was a learning experience for him.
"You see a lot of common mistakes that happen, so you pretty much pick up what those mistakes are and help out the deploying unit and fix those discrepancies when doing a joint inspection," Mendoza said.
For the artillerists of 3-7th FAR, it wasn't just by air transport where they moved their howitzers and prime movers. Equipment of all types for the artillery battalion loaded up the U.S. Army Vessel Lt. Gen. William B. Bunker (Logistics Support Vessel-4) at Waipio Point in Pearl Harbor to be delivered to Kawaihae Docks on the Big Island of Hawaii.
Staff Sgt. Derek Gordon, a section chief assigned to Battery B, 3-7th FAR, was one of the noncommissioned officers in charge to ensure the safe loading of the howitzers and equipment.
"With much of the battalion on leave," Gordon said, "we're doing our best to getting everything on this boat as fast and efficiently as possible."
Some in the Army, such as Spc. Connor Rooney, a field artillery automated tactical data systems specialist assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 3-7th FAR, learning the Army had transport support vessels was a surprise.
"It's an interesting experience loading up an LSV," Rooney said. "It's definitely something I didn't know the Army had. I thought we were loading in a Navy ship, and it's interesting to find out that there's an actual Army (military occupational specialty) dedicated to running boats.
"It's hard work, but everybody pitches in," he continued. "It's good camaraderie building experience at least. It's a great break from the monotony of day-to-day tasking."