The South Carolina-based 841st Transportation Battalion and Virginia-based 597th Transportation Brigade - units of the U.S. Army’s Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command - loaded approximately 750 pieces of military equipment at the Jacksonville Port Authority’s (JAXPORT) Blount Island Marine Terminal on May 19-20.

The cargo included multiple helicopters and support equipment in support of the 101st Combat Aviation Brigade deployment to the Middle East, according to Lt. Col. Rebeca D’Angelo, commander, 841st Transportation Bn.

D’Angelo leads a team of military logisticians and transportation specialists and is responsible for ensuring the smooth and orderly flow of troops and supplies at the port. For this move, military pilots flew nearly two dozen helicopters, including Black Hawk and Apache helicopters, from Fort Campbell, Kentucky to a JAXPORT staging area before loading them onto the ship.

Aircraft staged at JAXPORT after flying to Jacksonville from Fort Campbell, Kentucky.
Aircraft staged at JAXPORT after flying to Jacksonville from Fort Campbell, Kentucky.

“JAXPORT plays a critical role in the Department of Defense’s (DOD) ability to deploy forces and equipment worldwide,” D’Angelo added, “We truly appreciate the support from the community as we execute dynamic missions like this.”

“Jacksonville is a military community with an efficient transportation network anchored by a modern, deepwater seaport,” said JAXPORT CEO Eric Green. “Through our role as one of the nation’s strategic seaports, JAXPORT stands ready to support our military partners and the important work they do to protect our country.”

SSA Atlantic provided stevedoring operations at Blount Island. The move was JAXPORT’s largest single military cargo move so far this year, with volumes totaling more than all previous months combined since the start of the port’s fiscal year last October.

Earlier this month, the military also used JAXPORT for Exercise African Lion, an annual training event from mid-May to mid-June. The U.S. Africa Command-led training event involves 5,000 troops from 24 nations running large-scale live-fire, medical readiness, air, maritime, and forward-command-post training exercises in the Kingdom of Morocco, Tunisia and Senegal.

As one of the nation’s 17 strategic seaports, JAXPORT is on call 24/7 to move U.S. Military cargo for national defense, foreign humanitarian aid and disaster relief, and the only port in Florida with this designation.