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Feature Stories

NEWS | June 17, 2017

Army Mariners perform cargo transfer at sea

By Sgt. Jeremy Bratt

KUWAT NAVAL BASE, KUWAIT – Marlin and tuna aren’t the only precious cargo on a hook and line in the Persian Gulf.
The crew of the U.S. Army’s Logistics Support Vessel 5 (LSV-5), dubbed the Maj. Gen. Charles P. Gross, conducted an in stream cargo transfer with another vessel after departing Kuwait Naval Base on June 13, 2017.
“The instream cargo transfer displayed how Army Watercraft provide the capability to transfer cargo at sea and transport it to austere locations, such as a beach, in support of sustainment operations. It also provides Commanders with a greater understanding of their assets and Soldiers and the flexibility to exercise multiple courses of action during operations,” said 1st Lt. Nicholas Cardiello, the Support Operations Sea Mobility Officer for the 369th Sustainment Brigade.
After meeting the Gem State at a predetermined rendezvous point in the Persian Gulf, LSV-5 pulled alongside the larger vessel and the crews began securing the boats to each other using large mooring lines usually used to secure the boat to the pier while in port. The Gem State is a Military Sealift Command vessel. Military Sealift Command is a United States Navy proponent that typically conducts underway replenishment and military transportation missions.
After tying off, the Gem State began using one of its three onboard cranes to transfer containers to the LSV. As the crane lowered the large metal containers, crewmembers of the LSV used ropes attached to the lifting apparatus to guide the containers into the correct position aboard the deck of the LSV. After all containers were transferred, the vessels untied from one another and went their separate ways. The LSV transported the containers to the Port of Shuaiba, where they were offloaded.
LSV class vessels have a large ramp at the front of the vessel, which allows them to get into places that other boats cannot go. In the event that a port has an unimproved pier capable of offloading cargo, or in area does not have a pier at all, the LSV can be used to ferry cargo from a larger vessel directly to the shore. This also may be necessary in environments where the water is too shallow for a larger vessel to maneuver.
“We are a flat-bottomed boat that is 274 feet long, 60 feet wide, and designed to hit austere ports,” said Chief Warrant Officer 3 Patrick Walsh, Acting Vessel Master and Executive officer of the 411th Transportation Company, 548th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 369th SB 1st Theater Sustainment Command.
Army watercraft are somewhat of an open secret in the military. Many people are vaguely aware that the Army has boats, but many people can go their whole career without ever seeing one or meeting an Army Mariner. Despite the seemingly unusual nature of the operation, for Army Mariners it is business as usual.
“This is normal business for us. Nothing out of the ordinary. A lot of people don’t realize the Army has boats and don’t realize what we do,” said Thompson. ”Everyone knows trucks; no one knows boats.”