ABOARD USS PONCE -- MEU Service Support Group-24 is currently deployed with the 24th MEU (SOC) in the Mediterranean. Composed of seven detachments, the "G" provides invaluable logistics and combat service support to the overall MEU. Following is a description of the Transportation Support Detachment by its officer-in-charge, Capt Sean Zukowski, of Worcester, Mass.
Transportation Support Detachment combines what used to be two distinct platoons, Motor Transport and Shore Party. These two platoons share the basic mission of logistical throughput. We have married the two platoons to make the logistical flow smooth from the beach on up to the fight.
Our shore party Marines manage the beach, tracking supplies, equipment and personnel ashore, then our Material Handling Equipment (MHE) operators load much of that onto our trucks. Then Motor Transport operators push their payloads, whether that is cargo or passengers, to the desired objective. All the while our inherent maintenance capability, in the form of both Motor Transport and MHE mechanics, ensures our gear stays in the fight.
Another capability our Det brings to the battle is found in our shore party Marines, who facilitate Helicopter Support Teams by providing the personnel necessary to transport MEU cargo and equipment via external helicopter lift.
The entire detachment across the Amphibious Ready Group consists of 75 Marines. As mentioned, we have MHE operators and mechanics, Motor Transport operators and mechanics and our 0481 Landing Support Specialists. On the three ships, we provide ten of our 0481's to work for the Combat Cargo Detachment, ultimately working directly for the ship in support of MEU operations on the flight deck and in the cargo spaces.
Our biggest challenge has been combining the two formerly separate platoons into one cohesive unit, working towards the same mission accomplishment, and producing a team effort. A part of this challenge has been the staff's ability to manage the det across the ARG, keeping abreast of operations and personnel issues.
Our det's heritage is symbolized in the distinct red patches that most of us wear. It represents a link to the early days of the Shore Party in WWII. We distinguish ourselves by our commitment to supporting the MEU's missions.
The most rewarding part of deploying with this detachment has been working through the challenge of forming a team to come together and work towards mission accomplishment. Being the leader of this unique detachment and seeing it come together through the adversity and challenges of a Med Float is the true return on our invested time and efforts.
Follow the 24th MEU (SOC) deployment on their website at www.usmc.mil/24meu.