Civilian transporters to play key role in nation's preparedness

| 9/25/2001

The Military Traffic Management Command says the commercial transportation industry is part of an "extraordinary team" that will play a key role as America responds to the terrorist attacks. "When faced with a threat we bond quickly with a sense of common purpose and resolve that is awesome," Bill Lucas, MTMC's deputy to the commander, told an audience of civilian transporters last week in Washington, DC.

Lucas said the defense transportation system frequently operates "in relative obscurity" during peacetime. But, in the current crisis, industry representatives are exhibiting a "can do" spirit.

MTMC utilizes about 600 trucking firms from across the nation with access to thousands of trucks, said John Piparato, MTMC operations official. Civilian transporters haul all types and sizes of freight for the Defense Department. "They move helicopters - such that arrived by ship from Korea - a Navy life boat, shipping containers of unit property from a military installation to the port of embarkation, to name a few," Piparato said.

Lucas cautioned transporters to observe security in their operations and communications. "What once seemed innocuous may now be cobbled together as part of a larger puzzle that signals an intent or poses and inherent risk," said Lucas. "Sept. 11, 2001, has caused us all to view things in very different perspectives and different priorities."

Lucas advised the transportation industry to prepare now for its role implementing National Security Strategy. "I can't begin to tell you how proud I am of their dedication and selfless service," he said. "... The ability to deploy and sustain the force anytime, anywhere, for as long as it is needed. Be prepared. Be proud. Be safe. God bless America."