Exercise Pacific Reach 2009 tests watercraft capabilities
August 13, 2009
YOKOHAMA NORTH DOCK, Japan (Aug. 10, 2009) -- Active-duty and Army Reserve Soldiers from across the globe are testing the readiness of the Army's pre-positioned set four during military exercise Pacific Reach 2009 at the Yokohama north dock in Tokyo, Japan.
"Pacific Reach is a validation of the issue and turn-in process of the Army's pre-positioned set," said Chief Warrant Officer Charles West, U.S. Army Pacific Command, G-4 Mobility Division Sea Operations Branch.
The exercise, which is underway from Aug. 1 through 20, takes the watercraft from the Japan stock and runs them through procedures to raise their operational level and prepare them for missions in the future.
Units taking part in the exercise came from as far away as Morehead City, N.C.; Fort Eustis, Va.; Tacoma, Wash.; and Fort Shafter, Hawaii.
"What we're doing is improving the time for crews to inventory and get the vessels ready to go out and execute missions," said Lt. Col. Stacy Townsend, commander, 35th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 8th Theater Sustainment Command. "It's important to validate the timelines so that in the event the nation calls on the Pacific to respond to disasters or missions, commanders will know how long it takes to receive equipment."
The Soldiers of the 35th CSSB, based out of Sagami Depot in Tokyo, provided command and control and logistics support to the Soldiers taking part in the exercise. During the exercise, the Soldiers constructed modular causeway ferries, tested landing craft utility watercrafts, and ran through the steps necessary to check the readiness of all the equipment.
West, who has participated in the last three Pacific Reach exercises, said each year brings more and more improvements over previous operations.
"The best improvement this year is that we have cut down on the time to inventory the equipment for the watercraft," West said. "Last year, getting the boats operational took days, but we now do it in hours."
The efficiency in inventorying equipment is a result of hand receipts being location-specific. If a Soldier needed to inventory an item, he would begin the process in an area versus moving all over the ship for each item. The Landing Craft Utility watercraft alone has more than 10,000 line items.
West said that improvement came about from the after-action reports from last year to enhance the current Pacific Reach exercise. The Soldiers working during the exercise have dealt with earthquakes at night, humid days at the dock and harsh weather from tropical storms, yet despite it all, still accomplish the mission.
"They [Soldiers] are performing phenomenally," Townsend said. "They came from many places all across the U.S. and are working as a team. This exercise is a great training and learning experience and is giving the Soldiers vital skills they can use elsewhere."