Stabbing the Beach
April 29, 2013
Soldiers from the 331st Transportation Company, 11th Transportation Battalion, 7th Sustainment Brigade, out of Fort Eustis, Va., set up a modular causeway system at Dogu Beach, Pohang, Republic of Korea, April 15.
The training was a part of a combined joint logistics over the sea exercise that started that day and will continue until April 28.
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.
1st 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 after the initial section is pushed onto the beach. 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.
It's challenging to put together and they work closely with new team members, explained 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, with 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 on the waves," Burmeister said about the 27 platforms that make up the pier.
All branches of the U.S. military and members of the Republic of Korea 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 the Navy."
"When we all come together, there are more assets to make the mission more successful," he continued.