DAT conducts LOADEX in preparation for mission
October 21, 2010
By Staff Sgt. Crista Yazzie,
U.S. Army-Pacific Contingency Command Post Public Affairs
U.S. Air Force Tech Sgt. Isaiah Murray (right), 535th Airlift Squadron, briefs members of the USARPAC CCP DAT prior to loading equipment onto aircraft. (Maj. David Bolender | U.S. Army-Pacific Contingency Command Post Public Affairs)
HICKAM AIR FORCE BASE — Four vehicles, two trailers and 23 people doesn’t sound like much of a force, but it represents the total framework of the Deployable Assessment Team, a small group of professionals with minimal baggage and a mission to rapidly respond when disaster strikes in the Pacific.
The U.S. Army-Pacific’s Contingency Command Post DAT is a unique concept on its way to becoming fully operational capable in the coming months.
The DAT exercised a milestone in this endeavor through a load exercise conducted here, recently.
“This was the first time that the entire DAT had been alerted – all of the DAT vehicles and equipment rolled (out) at the same time – and the first time it had all been loaded onto a C-17,” said Maj. Keegan Leonard, DAT deputy chief of operations and USARPAC CCP aviation operations officer. “The Air Force loadmasters who took the time to help us during this exercise were great. Though the DAT is strictly a U.S. Army entity, only a joint effort (between the services) can get the DAT to its destination and back.”
Air Force Tech Sgt. Isaiah Murray, noncommissioned officer of standardization and evaluation for the 535th Airlift Squadron and team of loadmasters, assisted the DAT in loading and unloading.
“The whole point of the exercise was to ensure that we can safely load their cargo, conduct proper tie-down techniques and also ensure the safety of their passengers,” Murray said, adding that he felt confident about the entire process because of the teamwork of all involved.
“Everybody came ready to work. Everyone was able to gel together and mesh as a team, follow directions and get the job done, which is really important when you have a short-notice mission (in) an austere location,” he commented.
The DAT represents USARPAC in an emergency, humanitarian assistance situation or disaster-relief effort in the Pacific. When fully operational capable, the initial team, DAT A, which is comprised of nine members representing the CCP’s initial entry command and control capability, flies out first in an emergency. DAT B, an additional 14-person team, follows 24 to 48 hours later.
DAT B brings expertise in technical assessments, to evaluate emergency situations and recommend assistance as appropriate.
“DAT A has been exercising its mission for some time,” said Leonard. “By integrating DAT B into this exercise, we proved that (when) DAT A and B roll concurrently, we can do it with minimum friction. (We can) get the vehicles and equipment loaded in an orderly, efficient manner, and rapidly deploy anywhere the USARPAC commander sees a need for the unique capabilities of the Deployable Assessment Team.”
The mission was deemed a success.
“Everybody was where they needed to be, with the right attitude,” said Maj. Kevin Stonerook, DAT operations officer in charge and Air and Missile Defense operations officer. “All our vehicles were loaded onto the C-17 as though we were strategically deployed for disaster relief, (and) we also got some great hands-on training from the loadmasters. (This) will help us prepare not only for the next time we do this, but most importantly, when we have to do this in the real world.”
The small team with the big mission has only two achievements left until becoming fully operational capable: a fly-away exercise to validate the team’s rapid movement, and another to test its assessment capability.
“I’m proud to be a part of this mission,” said Staff Sgt. Jeff Anderson, DAT communications noncommissioned officer in charge. “It’s good to be a part of the DAT.”