• The U.S. Army Vessel Palo Alto beaches in Bethel, Alaska, after making the almost two-day trip from the remote village of Mertarvik.

    Beaching

    The U.S. Army Vessel Palo Alto beaches in Bethel, Alaska, after making the almost two-day trip from the remote village of Mertarvik.

  • Lt. Col. Tom Ladley, right, a physician assistant with the Pennsylvania Air National Guard's 193rd Special Operations Wing, Harrisburg, sits with Capt. Chad Hailey, a Marine reservist and commander of Headquarters and Support Company, 6th Engineer Support Battalion, at Camp Mertarvik, Alaska. Ladley is providing medical support to the troops working at the remote outpost, 450 miles from Anchorage.

    Ladley

    Lt. Col. Tom Ladley, right, a physician assistant with the Pennsylvania Air National Guard's 193rd Special Operations Wing, Harrisburg, sits with Capt. Chad Hailey, a Marine reservist and commander of Headquarters and Support Company, 6th Engineer...

  • Tents strain against their anchors at Camp Mertarvik, Alaska. Winds in excess of 25 knots are common, and tents have been blown away during strong gusts. It isn't all bad, though; the wind keeps mosquitoes away. "They'll suck you

    Windy

    Tents strain against their anchors at Camp Mertarvik, Alaska. Winds in excess of 25 knots are common, and tents have been blown away during strong gusts. It isn't all bad, though; the wind keeps mosquitoes away. "They'll suck you

  • Marines unload an Alaska Army National Guard UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter at Camp Mertarvik, Alaska. Helicopters are the only way to deliver people to the remote outpost, located about 450 air miles from Anchorage; the camp has no airstrip.

    Unload1

    Marines unload an Alaska Army National Guard UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter at Camp Mertarvik, Alaska. Helicopters are the only way to deliver people to the remote outpost, located about 450 air miles from Anchorage; the camp has no airstrip.

  • A lone Marine walks from the supply area at Camp Mertarvik, Alaska. Service members from the Army Reserve, Marine Reserve, Navy Reserve and Army and Air National Guard are working to relocate a native village that is being destroyed by erosion.

    Supply

    A lone Marine walks from the supply area at Camp Mertarvik, Alaska. Service members from the Army Reserve, Marine Reserve, Navy Reserve and Army and Air National Guard are working to relocate a native village that is being destroyed by erosion.

  • The Durabase mat road built by Marine Reserve engineers and Navy Reserve Seabees, Camp Mertarvik, Alaska. In some spots, the road is underlaid with four to five feet of rock and gravel, to allow drainage and stability due to the tundra.

    Road2

    The Durabase mat road built by Marine Reserve engineers and Navy Reserve Seabees, Camp Mertarvik, Alaska. In some spots, the road is underlaid with four to five feet of rock and gravel, to allow drainage and stability due to the tundra.

  • A heavy forklift moves pallets of Durabase mats, used to build a road across the tundra, Camp Mertarvik, Alaska. Each mat weighs more than 1,000 pounds.

    Mats

    A heavy forklift moves pallets of Durabase mats, used to build a road across the tundra, Camp Mertarvik, Alaska. Each mat weighs more than 1,000 pounds.

  • USAV Palo Alto arrives from Bethel, Alaska, with a load of Durabase mats, used to build a road across the tundra at Camp Mertarvik. Each mat weighs more than 1,000 pounds.

    Mats2

    USAV Palo Alto arrives from Bethel, Alaska, with a load of Durabase mats, used to build a road across the tundra at Camp Mertarvik. Each mat weighs more than 1,000 pounds.

  • A Marine Reserve lance corporal at Camp Mertarvik, Alaska, holds a 'care package' sent by the USO. A joint force made up of Army, Marine, and Navy reservists, and Arny and Air National Guard members is working together in this remote outpost to build a new village for a Native Alaskan tribe.

    Marine

    A Marine Reserve lance corporal at Camp Mertarvik, Alaska, holds a 'care package' sent by the USO. A joint force made up of Army, Marine, and Navy reservists, and Arny and Air National Guard members is working together in this remote outpost to build a...

  • Houses built by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development wait for their new occupants in Mertarvik, Alaska. The native Yup'ik village of Newtok, 10 miles away, is being relocated due to erosion caused by the expanding Ninglick River.

    Houses

    Houses built by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development wait for their new occupants in Mertarvik, Alaska. The native Yup'ik village of Newtok, 10 miles away, is being relocated due to erosion caused by the expanding Ninglick River.

  • A lone Marine walks towards Camp Mertarvik, Alaska, a remote outpost some 450 miles from Anchorage. Service members from the Army Reserve, Marine Reserve, Navy Reserve and Army and Air National Guard are working to relocate a native village that is being destroyed by erosion.

    Camp

    A lone Marine walks towards Camp Mertarvik, Alaska, a remote outpost some 450 miles from Anchorage. Service members from the Army Reserve, Marine Reserve, Navy Reserve and Army and Air National Guard are working to relocate a native village that is...

  • USAV Palo Alto steers into position prior to beaching at Camp Mertarvik, Alaska. The Ninglick River's swift current and sometimes-unpredictable tides can make beaching the 174-foot-long landing craft a tricky proposition.

    Offshore

    USAV Palo Alto steers into position prior to beaching at Camp Mertarvik, Alaska. The Ninglick River's swift current and sometimes-unpredictable tides can make beaching the 174-foot-long landing craft a tricky proposition.

  • USAV Palo Alto beaches at Punxsutawney Pier, Camp Mertarvik, Alaska. The boat is crewed by members of the 709th Transportation Company, a U.S. Army Reserve unit from Tacoma, Wash. The pier is named in honor of Pennsylvania's famous Punxsutawney Phil and the movie 'Groundhog Day,' because, according to one soldier, "it's the same here every day."

    Punx

    USAV Palo Alto beaches at Punxsutawney Pier, Camp Mertarvik, Alaska. The boat is crewed by members of the 709th Transportation Company, a U.S. Army Reserve unit from Tacoma, Wash. The pier is named in honor of Pennsylvania's famous Punxsutawney Phil...

  • Spc. Brad Bentow, left, and Cpl. Jason Miravalle of the 709th Transportation Company strap empty 55-gallon gasoline drums onto the deck of Palo Alto for the trip back to Bethel. All fuel and supplies have to be brought in on the boat's cargo runs.

    Strap

    Spc. Brad Bentow, left, and Cpl. Jason Miravalle of the 709th Transportation Company strap empty 55-gallon gasoline drums onto the deck of Palo Alto for the trip back to Bethel. All fuel and supplies have to be brought in on the boat's cargo runs.

  • Sgt. Bryan Hanlon of the 709th Transportation Company checks engine instruments on board Palo Alto. Hanlon, a watercraft engineer, is part of the team that keeps the boat running, no matter what.

    Hanlon1

    Sgt. Bryan Hanlon of the 709th Transportation Company checks engine instruments on board Palo Alto. Hanlon, a watercraft engineer, is part of the team that keeps the boat running, no matter what.

  • Spc. Jerome Wills, right, a food service specialist on board Palo Alto, gives a haircut to Spc. Nathan Valadez, the boat's medic. Members of the 709th Transportation Company, a U.S. Army Reserve unit from Tacoma, Wash., have been in Alaska since June helping supply a remote outpost. The crew is away from any of the usual comforts of home.

    Haircut

    Spc. Jerome Wills, right, a food service specialist on board Palo Alto, gives a haircut to Spc. Nathan Valadez, the boat's medic. Members of the 709th Transportation Company, a U.S. Army Reserve unit from Tacoma, Wash., have been in Alaska since June...

  • Palo Alto sails through foggy weather off the coast of Alaska in the Bering Sea. Weather conditions can change almost instantly, and the crew has to always be ready.

    Foggy

    Palo Alto sails through foggy weather off the coast of Alaska in the Bering Sea. Weather conditions can change almost instantly, and the crew has to always be ready.

  • Staff Sgt. David Kartchner of the 709th Transportation Company, first mate on Palo Alto, radios instructions to the crew offloading the vessel.

    Kartchner

    Staff Sgt. David Kartchner of the 709th Transportation Company, first mate on Palo Alto, radios instructions to the crew offloading the vessel.

  • The bridge changes hands every four hours. Here, a new watch crew takes over. From left, Cpl. Leonard Delong, Pfc. Jordan Habenicht, Staff Sgt. Dawn Bayeur, Cpl. Jason Miravalle, and Staff Sgt. David Kartchner, all of the 709th Transportation Company.

    Bridge

    The bridge changes hands every four hours. Here, a new watch crew takes over. From left, Cpl. Leonard Delong, Pfc. Jordan Habenicht, Staff Sgt. Dawn Bayeur, Cpl. Jason Miravalle, and Staff Sgt. David Kartchner, all of the 709th Transportation Company.

  • Spc. Brandon Hall of the 709th Transportation Company loads cargo on board the USAV Palo Alto in Mertarvik, Alaska. The remote outpost has to be completely supplied by boat or air.

    Hall

    Spc. Brandon Hall of the 709th Transportation Company loads cargo on board the USAV Palo Alto in Mertarvik, Alaska. The remote outpost has to be completely supplied by boat or air.

  • Army Reserve soldiers of the 709th Transportation Company load cargo aboard Palo Alto in Mertarvik, Alaska, prior to the vessel's 41-hour trip to Bethel.

    Loading2

    Army Reserve soldiers of the 709th Transportation Company load cargo aboard Palo Alto in Mertarvik, Alaska, prior to the vessel's 41-hour trip to Bethel.

  • Spc. Joshua Way of the 709th Transportation Company loads cargo aboard Palo Alto in Mertarvik, Alaska, as Chief Warrant Officer 4 Lonnie Moon, the boat's chief engineer, looks on.

    Loading1

    Spc. Joshua Way of the 709th Transportation Company loads cargo aboard Palo Alto in Mertarvik, Alaska, as Chief Warrant Officer 4 Lonnie Moon, the boat's chief engineer, looks on.

  • From left, Spc. Brad Bentow, Spc. Brandon Hall, and Pfc. Jordan Habenicht, all of the 709th Transportation Company, wait for Palo Alto. During offloading operations the river tide went out, and the soldiers were stuck on shore until Palo Alto's small outboard could come retrieve them.

    Waiting

    From left, Spc. Brad Bentow, Spc. Brandon Hall, and Pfc. Jordan Habenicht, all of the 709th Transportation Company, wait for Palo Alto. During offloading operations the river tide went out, and the soldiers were stuck on shore until Palo Alto's small...

  • The U.S.Army Vessel Palo Alto loaded in Tacoma, Wash., preparing to sail for Bethel, Alaska.

    Loaded

    The U.S.Army Vessel Palo Alto loaded in Tacoma, Wash., preparing to sail for Bethel, Alaska.

Page last updated Fri August 13th, 2010 at 16:40