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Washington Guard prepares for Hanuman Guardian 23

Vehicles from 2nd Battalion, 146th Field Artillery Regiment, WNG, sit in the loading bay of a cargo ship as it is being loaded for travel prior to Hanuman Guardian 23 on May 23, 2023, at the Port of Tacoma. Photo credit: Joseph Siemandel

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TACOMA - This summer, more than 500 Washington National Guard members will take part in Hanuman Guardian 23, an annual, bilateral exercise hosted by the Royal Thai Army at the Cavalry Center in Saraburi, Thailand. Before they arrive, their large equipment needs to get to Thailand.

"We have to get more than 100 vehicles and large pieces of equipment to the Kingdom of Thailand," said Sarrah McCrary, defense movement coordinator. "Usually, we have to take the vehicles to Texas to do this, so it's different doing it right here."

That is where the logistical professionals of the Washington National Guard and the employees at the Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command at the Port of Tacoma can assist.

Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command provides integrated and synchronized global deployment and distribution capabilities to the point of need, delivering transportation solutions.

The team at the Port of Tacoma will inspect, clear, tag, load and prepare all equipment and vehicles for the journey across the Pacific Ocean.

"The unit was one of the better ones that have come through here," said Maj. Justin Rhodes, operations officer with the 833rd Transportation Battalion. "Your paperwork was perfect and everything was squared away. That makes it so much easier."

The 833d Transportation Battalion is the unit responsible for the operations at the Surface Deployment and Distribution Command at the Port.

Once shipped, the equipment, mostly from the 81st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, will be offloaded and positioned for Guard members to pick up for the nearly two-week exercise.

Hanuman Guardian is designed to improve humanitarian assistance and disaster relief capabilities and enhance mission readiness and interoperability between the two armies while improving the quality of life in rural areas.

The Washington National Guard and the Kingdom of Thailand have been partners under the Department of Defense National Guard Bureau State Partnership Program since 2002. The SPP is celebrating its 30th year and now has 88 partnerships with 100 nations.

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