Rail Ops: A Strategic Asset
Marine Corps Logistics Base Barstow, California has implemented several initiatives that continue to make its railhead not only the largest in the Department of Defense, but also increase its value as a strategic asset.
Based at the Yermo Annex of MCLB Barstow, rail operations are handled by Chad Hildebrandt, who won the Supervisor of the Quarter Award for fiscal year 2015 for the work he and his team did, not only to establish an innovative training program, but also to save money.
Training rotations account for a hefty share of the rail traffic at Yermo, and equipment is often sent to Production Plant Barstow, Marine Depot Maintenance Command there for repair and overhaul.
A major training cycle took place in March, with First Cavalry Division out of Fort Hood, Texas on-loading after an 18-day exercise at the National Training Center at nearby Fort Irwin, while First Infantry Division from Fort Riley, Kansas offloaded at the same time for their turn at the NTC.
Hildebrandt's team introduced the 80-hour Rail Ops course in February 2014, to teach Army and Marine Corps personnel how to load and offload their equipment. The class averages 20 to 30 students each month, with a recent high of 38 students.
Another one of Hildebrandt's initiatives is getting the military units to move more equipment by rail rather than by truck, and to get San Bernardino County to allow use of military heavy equipment transporters rather than commercial tractor trailers, which cost around $5,800 each, one way.
A former Marine, Hildebrandt left a rewarding Navy civilian job to work at Yermo, with a reduction in pay that has been offset by the challenge and rewards he has received transforming the rail operations here into an ever-more valuable asset.
Produced by Cynthia McIntyre.
Videography by Cynthia McIntyre and Keith Hayes.
Narration: Keith Hayes