MAJ Corey Schultz and Ashley John
The 730th Transportation Company of the 311th Expeditionary Sustainment Command, U.S. Army Reserve (USAR), is the first unit to be equipped with the new Palletized Load System (PLS)-A1 truck, solidifying a significant shift in the distribution and allocation of equipment to Soldiers.
The 730th Transportation Company, one of the newest USAR units, is receiving the Army’s newest trucks. Since September 2010, the Soldiers have trained for the 60 new trucks, said COL John Smith, Chief of Staff of the 311th Expeditionary Support Command. In November, Product Manager Heavy Tactical Vehicles (PM HTV), under the leadership of Project Manager Tactical Vehicles, Program Executive Office Combat Support and Combat Service Support (PEO CS&CSS), obtained Full Materiel Release approval for the PLS-A1.
In a Feb. 4 ceremony, PEO CS&CSS formally recognized the new transportation company. “This is the second first unit equipped ceremony I’ve been privileged to attend, and it’s the second one for the Army Reserve,” said LTC Paul Shuler, PM HTV. “The PLS-A1 is the best we have.”
During the ceremony, COL David Bassett, Project Manager Tactical Vehicles, explained that the PLS-A1 is designed with a fully scalable and integrated cab armor protection package, meaning the vehicle comes off the production line equipped with “A-Kit” armor components and built-in mounting provisions for the “B-Kit.” The B-Kit can be installed on the vehicle, as missions dictate, to provide maximum 360-degree protection for the crew in a combat environment.
“These trucks are designed to get you there, get you back, and get you home safely,” said Bassett. “I’m gratified we can put equipment in the hands of Soldiers.”
Bassett noted that this second fielding of new equipment to a USAR unit recognizes the unique contribution that citizen Soldiers make to the Nation’s defense.
The PLS-A1 fielding will allow the Army to replace many of the older, aging PLS-series trucks currently in use. “What’s occurring here today represents much more than new trucks,” said Smith. “It represents our ability to supply and support the fighting force.”
Designed and manufactured by Oshkosh Defense Corp., the PLS-A1 incorporates a 600-horsepower Caterpillar C-15 engine and an Allison 4500 six-speed transmission, which meets on-road U.S. Environmental Protection Agency requirements, and an independent steel spring front suspension system. The truck also features improved heating and air conditioning, an electrical system capable of providing future support to diagnostic and prognostic maintenance systems, and an anti-lock brake system with traction control.
[quote align="left"]Many units can put a battalion into combat. The question becomes, how do you resupply? And the answer is a robust and versatile logistics system.[/quote]
Mike Ivy, Vice President and General Manager of Army Programs for Oshkosh Defense, was on-site to deliver a commemorative plaque to the unit. “It’s an honor to see the first PLS-A1 fielded to the 730th Transportation Company,” said Ivy. “The PLS has become the backbone of the Army’s distribution and resupply system since it entered Army service in 1993. The PLS-A1 delivers performance and protection improvements that are important to America’s Soldiers, and we’re proud to provide it.”
“Many units can put a battalion into combat,” Smith said. “The question becomes, how do you resupply? And the answer is a robust and versatile logistics system.” This is where the Army Reserve comes in, Smith explained—to provide trained and ready Soldiers able to deploy at a fraction of the cost.
The PLS-A1 supports the Army’s need for local and long-distance line-haul supply operations. The first configuration, M1074A1, is equipped with a Material Handling Crane and is used primarily to support ammunition handling at local holding areas and transfer points. The M1075A1, which does not feature a crane, is used chiefly for long-distance line-haul missions. Both configurations feature the same payload and towing capacity.
- MAJ COREY SCHULTZ is a Media Officer for the Office of the Chief of the Army Reserve Public Affairs Office, specializing in media relations, crisis reaction, and planning. She holds a B.A. in English with a focus on literature and classical studies from Kalamazoo College.
- ASHLEY JOHN is a Strategic Communications Specialist for PEO CS&CSS. She holds a B.A. in marketing from Michigan State University.