KOPER, Slovenia—Preparing several hundreds of pieces of equipment to go to multiple countries takes a lot of work and logistical planning, something Spc. Darrell Smith of the 1177th Movement Control Team, 7th Civil Support Command, a reserve unit in Germany, has experience with.
“If we can’t get equipment to the proper place at the right time, we lose the fight,” Smith said.
The transportation of equipment and ensuring it does get to the right places on time is part of exercise Immediate Response 19, a multinational exercise designed to improve mission readiness and the seamless movement of equipment.
Smith and his peers of the 1177th MCT Dragons traveled from Kaiserslautern, Germany, to the Port of Koper, Slovenia, where from late May to early June they have been tracking the vehicles and gear that will be moving around the European Theater for a series of summer exercises.
Smith’s job is to coordinate the shipping of equipment, inventory and stage that equipment and make sure it gets sent in convoys to arrive at the correct destination. Has helped move up to thousands of pieces of equipment at a time before, sometimes late into the night, and said keeping accountability and making sure nothing gets lost can be a challenge.
“It may just seem like numbers and paperwork, but it’s critically important,” Smith said. “Not having the vehicles inventoried correctly and sent where they need to go can be catastrophic to the mission.”
Originally from Charlotte, North Carolina, Smith was prior active duty Air Force for six years working as an electrician on F-16s before joining the Army reserves.
Since visiting Europe as a teenager, Smith said he has been drawn to living and working in the region. He was stationed at Spangdalem Air Base in Germany when he was in the Air Force, and between his overseas service with the two branches, Smith has become fluent in German.
Smith said what he enjoys about his job is the family he has made of his colleagues in the military, and the satisfaction after completing a mission like IR 19, moving what looks like a sea of equipment.
“Seeing my part in the complete force makes me realize what I’m doing actually matters,” Smith said. “Knowing I can make a mission possible is satisfying. At the end of the day, I think ‘I did that.’”