Photo Information

Lance Cpl. Michael Miller and Lance Cpl. Kyle Osborne, Marines with Combat Logistics Battalion 5, Camp Pendleton, Calif., oversee unloading of equipment with solders from 1st Cavalry Division out of Ft. Hood, Texas, as part of their Railway Operations training at the Yermo Annex on Marine Corps Logistics Base Barstow, Calif., Feb. 11. The 80-hour RailOps training is now being offered through Marine Corps Training Information Management System and includes class instruction and hands-on learning

Photo by Laurie Pearson

Railway Operations training aboard MCLB Barstow’s Yermo Annex now available through MCTIMS

20 Feb 2015 | Laurie Pearson The Official United States Marine Corps Public Website

Nine Marines from the 1st Transportation Support Battalion and nine Marines from Combat Logistics Battalion 5, both from Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., graduated from the first official Railway Operations Training offered through the Marine Corps Training Information Management System, aboard the Yermo Annex on Marine Corps Logistics Base Barstow, Calif., Feb. 13.

The commanding officer of 1st TSB, Lt. Col. Thomas Warren, emphasized the importance of RailOps in maximizing the operational reach of the I Marine Expeditionary Force. 

Warren asked, “How fast can we build combat power in an assigned area of responsibility?  The faster Marines can load and unload equipment and get it to units, the faster it allows I MEF command to put those units in advantageous placement over the enemy.”

“(This training will) help us meet training and readiness standards we are responsible to maintain to meet our mission to support I MEF,” agreed Maj. Adam Kintop, operations officer with 1st TSB.

Cost savings is another factor in pursuing training in RailOps for their crew, asserted 1st Sgt. Charles Berglund, battalion sergeant major for 1st TSB.

“We save thousands of dollars every time a unit has to move (by using railways),” said Berglund. “Man-hours here equal money savings later.  That money can be used to train elsewhere which is huge, especially now given the fiscal environment we’re in.”

The RailOps training is taught by Chad Hildebrandt, rail operations supervisor aboard MCLB Barstow, and his rail operations team.  They break down essential elements of safely and efficiently loading and unloading equipment on railcars for transport. 

“(Hildebrandt and his team are) great stewards for helping Army rotational units in understanding the intricacies around RailOps and getting equipment from Yermo to (the National Training Center in Fort Irwin, Calif.),” said Sgt. Maj. Donald Robertson, operations sergeant major for 1-9 Cavalry Division, 2nd Brigade, out of Fort Hood, Texas.  

“They’re professional, hard-working and well above standard,” agreed Capt. Joseph Fontana, operations officer with 1-9 Cavalry, 2nd Brigade, out of Fort Hood. 

Students from 1st TSB and CLB 5 spent a total of 80 hours in the RailOps course, which allowed students to learn in the classroom, then practice what they learned with hands-on training on the railcars. Students passed a practical portion of the course examinations by demonstrating their knowledge to incoming and outgoing rotational units from Fort Wainwright, Alaska; Fort Carson, Colo.; and Fort Hood and Fort Bliss out of Texas.

For Cpl. Luis Romangarcia, the class also afforded an opportunity to practice leadership skills. 

“It’s a great opportunity for a corporal to lead away from the (base),” pointed out Warren.  He further explained that in real-world warfare it is always a possibility that a corporal would be called upon to lead others, either until higher level leaders can arrive, or in some cases indefinitely.   

“I’ve heard nothing, but great things about (Cpl. Romangarcia’s) leadership,” said Warren.

The next RailOps course aboard MCLB Barstow offered through MCTIMS is slated for March and is already booked to capacity.  However, the course is being offered ten times per year.