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Feature Stories

NEWS | June 1, 2024

U.S. Army Watercraft Operator: Supporting JLOTS mission off Gaza coast

By U.S. Navy Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jordan KirkJohnson

ISRAEL- Growing up in the coastal town of Holland, Massachusetts, 25-year-old Sgt. Hagan Schutz always had a love for water. His childhood home was walking distance from a lake and his family would frequently visit the beach. While his decision to join the U.S. Army shocked his family, his career path as a coxswain, piloting a vessel and spending countless hours on the water, seemed like a fitting voyage.

Sgt. Schutz works as a modular warping tug coxswain assigned to 331st Transportation Company, 7th Transportation Brigade (Expeditionary) for Joint Logistics Over-the-Shore operations. He is responsible for navigating new waters, assembling sections of the Trident Pier, and ensuring the safety of the six Soldiers aboard his craft.


“It can be stressful, especially during some of our recent situations,” said Schutz. “Ultimately I have to trust that everyone aboard knows their jobs and their responsibilities, and that makes my job a whole lot easier.”


Schutz said that this mission included a lot of “firsts”. First time working on the Trident Pier build and first time anchoring it into a combat zone.


“To be in a combat area is a different experience than I ever expected,” he said. “It’s definitely taught me to persevere with all the stuff we’ve been through. It's been hard, but it teaches me to be a bit stronger and keep pushing through.”


As he continues to navigate the unpredictable waters of military life, Schutz knows that he can rely on his training, his fellow Soldiers, and his love for the ocean to carry him through the mission’s duration.