331st Transportation Company supports combined joint logistics over the shore exercise near Pohang
April 22, 2013
POHANG, South Korea - Soldiers from the 331st Transportation Company, 11th Transportation Battalion, 7th Sustainment Brigade, out of Fort Eustis, Va., set up a modular causeway system (MCS) at Dogu Beach, Pohang, South Korea, April 15.
The training was a part of a weeklong combined joint logistics over the shore exercise.
The MCS is a mobile port designed to load and unload equipment or personnel onto otherwise inaccessible land for either combat missions or humanitarian aid.
First Sgt. Brian Davis, 331st first sergeant, said the mission shows their capabilities of how they can expediently put up a floating pier anywhere in the world, whether it's a built up infrastructure, already established or not.
"Try to think of it as a floating pier," Davis said. "We're going to stab it into the beach so that a vessel can download equipment to drive onto the beach."
The pier is formed in one location off of an existing pier. Piece by piece, tug boats move the platform across the water.
While out in the open sea, soldiers manipulate and maneuver 20- or 40-foot-long metal floors, creating different shapes until the pier is completely stretched out.
For many of the 331st soldiers, this is their first experience with such large pallets on the water, making safety even more of a priority.
"When we bring new people in, it's kind of sketchy, because we have to teach them all the things they need to look out for," said Spc. Eric Burmeister, a watercraft operator in the 331st with two years of experience and a native of San Diego.
"For instance, setting anchors is very hazardous, big, heavy things swinging around," Burmeister explained. "We have to keep them steady."
"When the sea gets rough, you have to time your movements so you don't fall in between pieces that bang together like giant scissors going up and down in the waves," Burmeister said about the 27 platforms that make up the pier.
All branches of the U.S. military and members of the South Korean military are involved in the CJLOTS exercise. The 331st has to rely upon outside sources in order to complete their causeway missions.
"We train with the Navy," Burmeister said. "They have vessels specially designed to offload sections. The Army doesn't have boats to offload these pieces so we always have to rely on civilians or Navy. When we all come together, there are more assets to make the mission more successful."