By 1st Lt. David W. Grimes, 40th BEB, 2nd BCT, 1st AD:
(El Paso, Texas, Feb. 8, 2018)
KUWAIT – Soldiers assigned to Company A, 40th Brigade Engineer Battalion, with attachments from 3rd Platoon, Company C, 1st Battalion, 35th Armor Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, have a very specific mission set while deployed to Kuwait in support of Operation Spartan Shield.
Each day the Soldiers assigned to Co. A secure the Seaport of Debarkation/Embarkation (SPOD/E) as part of the Security Forces South mission set. The SPOD/E, located at the Port of Shuaiba, is important to U.S. operations in the Middle East. This seaport has acted as a hub for deploying military equipment to and from the theatre of operations since the United States’ invasion of Iraq in 2003.
Over the course of nine months, Soldiers will work a rigorous shift cycle securing the SPOD/E. During their off time, Soldiers train to complete tasks as determined by the company and platoon training schedules.
While working a shift at the SPOD/E, a typical day for one of the platoons will start with a beginning of shift formation. This formation will specify which Soldiers will be going out on shift and what entry control points they will work. After formation, Soldiers eat and meet back at the designated time to leave for mission. The method of transportation is non-tactical vehicles, and each vehicle carries Soldiers going to specific gates to ensure a smooth process of relieving the platoon on duty at the SPOD/E.
After arriving at the SPOD/E, a noncommissioned officer with Soldiers will relieve each entry control point in place while briefing the oncoming shift of any pertinent information during the prior shift. Some of the information in the shift change brief includes: intelligence update briefs, specific personnel or vehicles to be on the lookout for, any specific collection requirements given by the S2, the current force protection level, rules of force, any scheduled events or distinguished visitors attending the port and pre-combat checks and inspections of Soldiers and equipment.
After all shift change over briefs and checks are complete, the NCO will call a shift changeover report to the Base Defense Operations Center signifying that the changeover is complete.
While on shift, Soldiers remain vigilant, calling out all actions to the BDOC. All vehicles are stopped at each gate to ensure only authorized access is granted. Soldiers conduct a 100 percent identification check at all times and they search vehicles in accordance with a random antiterrorism measures schedule.
During times of surge missions (distribution of ammo throughout the U.S. Central Command area of operations) or deployment and redeployment of equipment into country, Soldiers track all transportation movement requests moving the equipment in and out of the SPOD/E. An interpreter comes to each shift in the event of any leader engagements with third country nationals.
The quick reaction force is always on standby and deployed randomly during missions to ramp up security. Any out of the ordinary actions are briefed to higher officials and the oncoming shifts. Soldiers working the shifts take all opportunities to train and master their jobs. When not searching vehicles or logging incoming TMRs, Soldiers conduct maintenance on the theatre provided equipment, train on battle drills and study MOS related tasks.
After the shift is complete, the Soldiers on shift complete their shift change over briefs and make the trip back to Camp Patriot to refit and posture for their next shift. Soldiers assigned to the SPOD/E mission understand the importance they play in the CENTCOM and SECFOR South missions. Each day brings on new challenges, but with the winning attitude and bright outlook of these Soldiers, the mission will continue to be accomplished.