YOKOSUKA, Japan (NNS) - An elite Logistics Response Team (LRT) returned to U.S. Fleet and Industrial Supply Center (FISC) Yokosuka March 1, after orchestrating the on-scene load-out of more than 110 tons of cargo, repair parts and mail during Exercise Cobra Gold 2011 in Thailand.
LRTs, essentially highly mobile "micro- FISCs", are dispatched from their headquarters in Yokosuka to assume the role as ships' logistics representatives ashore during major exercises or contingency operations.
"No matter where they were in the exercise, everything from a single bolt to a flight deck tractor ? when the ships needed it, we got it to them," said Logistics Specialist Second Class Kevin Goleman, who served as the lead for the Cobra Gold LRT. "We were on the move daily from Utphao to Sattahip and points all over the region for three weeks."
The LRT concept is relatively new, replacing the older and more manpower-intensive logistics beach detachments, or "Beach Dets."
LRT teams leverage a mix of technology and operational efficiencies to reduce manpower while more efficiently serving the ships.
One burgeoning technology FISC Yokosuka has been testing is the use of an Automated Manifest System ? Tactical, or AMS-TAC, a suitcase-sized portable unit housing a computer, satellite phone and hand held scanner.
"One of the uses of AMS-TAC is to scan cargo right on the flightline ? or wherever it arrives ? and transmit the cargo manifest directly to the ship," Goleman said. "Once the ship receives the data, if it needs to, it can send a request to single out any of the cargo for priority delivery.
"It's still a work in progress for us, but it's just another concept that can help us do our jobs more effectively," Goleman said.
Cobra Gold was supported by the locally forward deployed USS Essex (LHD 2), USS Denver (LPD 9) and USS Germantown (LSD 42), as well as the San Diego-based USS Stockdale (DDG 106).
The logistics day for the LRT starts as early as 3 a.m. when the day's scheduled flights are received and reviewed. The list details mission flights by ships' aircraft and elements that include aircraft availability to stop by the flight-line on the way back to the ship to pick up cargo or mail.
"The priority for the flights, obviously, are mission," Goleman explained, "but, when possible, they drop in to pick up cargo and mail, so they become part of the logistics effort.
"I'll tell you something else, too: those pilots aren't just sitting there idling their engines while we load the aircraft. They're right out there doing the same heavy lifting we're doing; they know how important moving cargo and mail is."
Goleman was joined by Logistics Specialist Second Class Larry Cybulski and U.S. Marine Sergeant Ato Waithe, who represents a small contingent of Marines assigned to FISC Yokosuka, the only FISC among seven around the world with a formal Marine Liaison office.
"We work very closely with the Marines," Goleman said. In fact, while FISC Yokosuka was represented by an LRT, there were many more Marine logistics elements ashore as well.
"We all helped each other," Goleman said. "In a nod to Naval Logistics Integration (NLI), we were one team out there. The Marines stepped up for us and, where we could, we stepped up for them."
The multinational exercise Cobra Gold was conducted ashore and in the Gulf of Thailand. More than 7,200 U.S. service members at multiple locations throughout Thailand joined the militaries of the Kingdom of Thailand, Singapore, Japan, Indonesia, the Republic of Korea and Malaysia to improve interoperability among the nations.
A component of the Naval Supply Systems Command, headquartered in Mechanicsburg, Pa., FISC Yokosuka is one among seven FISCs under COMFISCS headquartered in San Diego, a worldwide network of more than 22,500 military and civilian personnel providing combat capability through logistics.
For more news from U.S. Fleet and Industrial Supply Center Yokosuka, visit www.navy.mil/local/fiscyokosuka/.