By Spc. Dakota Vanidestine
1st Theater Sustainment Command
The 492nd Theater Harbormaster Operations Detachment (THOD) ended their mission during a ceremony at a Naval Base in the Middle East, Feb. 13, 2019.
In the Army’s U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) area of responsibility (AOR), the Theater Harbormaster Operations Detachments have been responsible for controlling the incoming and outgoing vessels at [installation] for the past 22 years.
The 492nd THOD assumed the responsibilities of their predecessors in June, 2019, and now they case their colors - bringing closure to over two decades of history in the area.
“The 492nd was the very first harbormaster to come out here in 1998, and ever since then there has been a harbormaster standing watch over Army watercrafts [here],” said Chief Warrant Officer 4 Nicholas Laferte, commander, 492nd THOD. “What started 22 years ago with the 492nd, ends here with the 492nd. We are the first in, the last out; we own the shore.”
The 492nd THOD worked hand-in-hand with the partner nation's Armed Forces.
“We provided a link between the [local] Armed Forces and the American forces,” said Staff Sgt. Jonathan Van Meter, operations noncommissioned officer in charge, 492nd THOD. “It was really important for us to build a solid relationship with the [partners] right away. We were able to talk with them and provide insight into what missions that we believed needed to happen. It was an enjoyable experience working with all of them.”
The 492nd THOD’s diversity enhanced their effectiveness and cohesion during their deployment.
“When you work in a harbormaster detachment, you get to see everything that really goes into supporting an Army watercraft operation,” said Van Meter. “Some of our Soldiers came right out of AIT (Advanced Individual Training), and they got that firsthand experience right away, which I believe will be helpful in their career. It also got them excited about what they were going to learn next.”
Higher echelons played a major role in the 492nd THOD's operations.
“In conjunction with the 1st Theater Sustainment Command (TSC), we did a lot of mission planning to ensure that cargo gets moved to and from the vessels in a timely manner,” said Van Meter. “We ensured that all port operations for the 1st TSC ran smoothly.”
The 492nd THOD’s mission will continue when they arrive back in the U.S.
“When we arrive back at Fort Eustis, Va., it will be important for us to know what missions are coming up,” said Van Meter. “We will need to ensure that the operations are being conducted in a safe manner, that there are no oil spills, that there are fire trucks on site for fueling operations, and that we are communicating effectively with the 1st TSC.”
The 492nd, and the rest of the THODs over the past 22 years, have undoubtedly set the [partner nation's] Armed Forces up for success in their future sustainment operations, and they will continue paving the path of excellence wherever they go.
U.S. ARMY RESERVE
DEPT. OF DEFENSE
U.S. CENTRAL COMMAND
DEPT. OF HOMELAND SECURITY
BEST WARRIOR COMPETITION