• Shuto Osada, a preservation worker, and Kei Azuma, a special packer, install shelves into a U.S. Army self-contained portable fueling station, Aug. 30, at Sagami Army Depot, Japan. Sagami Army Depot is a major maintenance and storage facility for Army Prepositioned Stocks-4. (Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Sean Riley, ASC Public Affairs)

    APS-4 equipment makes waves

    Shuto Osada, a preservation worker, and Kei Azuma, a special packer, install shelves into a U.S. Army self-contained portable fueling station, Aug. 30, at Sagami Army Depot, Japan. Sagami Army Depot is a major maintenance and storage facility for Army...

  • Sgt. Anthony Wilson, with the Tacoma, Washington-based Army Reserve's 709th Transportation Company, guides a Humvee onto the deck of the Landing Craft Utility (LCU) 2007 "Calaboza," during Pacific Reach 2010, Sept. 1, at Ito City, Japan. Pacific Reach 2010 is a validation of the issue and turn-in process of two LCU 2000-series boats from Army Prepositioned Stocks-4 (APS-4). The exercise, which was conducted from Aug. 31 through Sept. 2, took the watercraft from the stock and ran them through a simulated humanitarian aid and relief mission to Ito City, some 60 nautical miles south of Yokohama, Japan. The major maintenance and storage facilities for APS-4 are at the 403rd Army Field Support Battalion - Northeast Asia at Camp Carroll, Korea, and at Sagami Army Depot, Japan. (Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Sean Riley, ASC Public Affairs)

    APS-4 equipment makes waves

    Sgt. Anthony Wilson, with the Tacoma, Washington-based Army Reserve's 709th Transportation Company, guides a Humvee onto the deck of the Landing Craft Utility (LCU) 2007 "Calaboza," during Pacific Reach 2010, Sept. 1, at Ito City, Japan. Pacific Reach...

  • Pfc. Jordan Habenicht, with the Tacoma, Washington-based Army Reserve's 709th Transportation Company, guides a Light Medium Tactical Vehicle (LMTV) onto the deck of the Landing Craft Utility (LCU) 2007 "Calaboza," during Pacific Reach 2010, Sept. 1, at Ito City, Japan. Pacific Reach 2010 is a validation of the issue and turn-in process of two LCU 2000-series boats from Army Prepositioned Stocks-4 (APS-4). The exercise, which was conducted from Aug. 31 through Sept. 2, took the watercraft from the stock and ran them through a simulated humanitarian aid and relief mission to Ito City, some 60 nautical miles south of Yokohama, Japan. The major maintenance and storage facilities for APS-4 are at the 403rd Army Field Support Battalion - Northeast Asia at Camp Carroll, Korea, and at Sagami Army Depot, Japan. (Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Sean Riley, ASC Public Affairs)

    APS-4 equipment makes waves

    Pfc. Jordan Habenicht, with the Tacoma, Washington-based Army Reserve's 709th Transportation Company, guides a Light Medium Tactical Vehicle (LMTV) onto the deck of the Landing Craft Utility (LCU) 2007 "Calaboza," during Pacific Reach 2010, Sept. 1, at...

  • Sgt. Melissa Pollock, the Boatswain for the Landing Craft Utility (LCU) 2007 "Broad Run," guides a Humvee onto the deck in preparation for Pacific Reach 2010, Aug. 27 at Yokohama North Dock, located in the city of Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture, Honshu, Japan. Pacific Reach 2010 is a validation of the issue and turn-in process of two LCU 2000-series  boats from Army Prepositioned Stocks-4 (APS-4). The exercise, which was conducted from Aug. 31 through Sept. 2, took the watercraft from the stock and ran them through a simulated humanitarian aid and relief mission to Ito City, some 60 nautical miles south of Yokohama. The major maintenance and storage facilities for APS-4 are at the 403rd Army Field Support Battalion - Northeast Asia at Camp Carroll, Korea, and at Sagami Army Depot, Japan. (Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Sean Riley, ASC Public Affairs)

    APS-4 equipment makes waves

    Sgt. Melissa Pollock, the Boatswain for the Landing Craft Utility (LCU) 2007 "Broad Run," guides a Humvee onto the deck in preparation for Pacific Reach 2010, Aug. 27 at Yokohama North Dock, located in the city of Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture, Honshu...

YOKOHAMA NORTH DOCK, Japan -- Army Prepositioned Stocks-4 (APS-4) watercraft made waves on their way from Yokohama Harbor to the shores of Ito City. Two Landing Craft Utility (LCU) 2000-series boats participated in Pacific Reach 2010, Aug. 31 to Sept. 2.

Active duty and Army Reserve crewmembers for the APS-4 Army watercraft LCU 2007, "Calaboza," and LCU 2009, "Broad Run," started preparations for their voyages in early August.

"We were involved from the initial planning that started some six months ago all the way through the final execution of the mission," said Lt. Col. Doug Petrowski, commander of the 403rd AFSBn-Northeast Asia, headquartered at Camp Carroll, Korea. "It was great cooperation in terms of working with boat crews that we were not normally associated with - which is how the most likely scenario [would play out] if we had to activate these [Army watercraft] in support of other real-world contingencies."

The battalion's mission during the exercise, he explained, was to provide logistics support to U.S. Army Pacific forces via the 8th Theater Sustainment Command by issuing and sustaining two APS-4 Army watercraft, supporting the brigade inspection and reconnaissance exercise program, and, as required, providing logistics support to humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations in Ito City, Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan.

According to the scenario depicted in orders issued by Col. Barry Diehl, commander of the 403rd Army Field Support Brigade, an earthquake in the Shizuoka Prefecture had caused extensive damage to the road network leading to Ito City. All roads into the city could not be cleared to get relief aid to the city.

Petrowski said his battalion's role in the exercise provided the optimal test of its readiness.

"An exercise like this is absolutely critical for a unit like ours," he said. "It gives us the opportunity to execute our issue, inventory, and hand-over procedures, validate our SOPs [standard operating procedures] and how we do it. Then from a bigger standpoint, it validates the day-in, day-out mission of our unit; and that's to maintain all of the Army prepositioned stocks in the ready-to-fight/ready-to-issue status.

"This was huge in that perspective for us, and it did meet our intent of validating both our processes and our equipment readiness."

Once the cargo - provided by I Corps in the form of several Humvees, trucks, and trailers - was uploaded, the crews sailed the 174-foot vessels some 60 nautical miles to Ito Harbor and then conducted roll-on, roll-off operations of the equipment to support the simulated disaster relief efforts.

With a beam of 42 feet and a displacement of nine feet when fully loaded, LCU 2000s can carry five M1A1 Abrams tanks or 24 20-foot shipping containers. These vessels are manned by 13 crewmembers and have a range of 10,000 miles.

Chief Warrant Officer 3 Jesus Gonzalez-Borjas, marine maintenance officer for APS-4, said exercises like this and Joint Logistics Over-the-Shore exercises are a must in order to put the equipment to the test.

"We can't spend all this money on maintenance without having the proper testing. Having Soldiers that are watercraft specialists is probably the ideal way to test the equipment," Gonzalez-Borjas said.

Gonzalez-Borjas had a team of contractors available at all times during the exercise to deal with any maintenance issues the watercraft incurred.

"We had plumbing problems, and that's just the nature of watercraft," he said. "It's a normal problem; it's expected because the watercraft are in storage [and] plumbing doesn't get used all the time."

Both Petrowski and Gonzalez-Borjas agree the mission was a resounding success.

"There are members of the Army Sustainment Command, U.S. Army Pacific, 403rd Brigade in Korea, and - most importantly - Soldiers from Fort Eustis, Virginia, and crews drawn from four [Army] Reserve units," said Gonzalez-Borjas. "The Soldiers are our customer, but there [are a] lot of people working toward the same effort, toward the same goal, to ensure that the watercraft is ready to be issued."

Petrowski set the bar for success high, making accomplishment of the mission all the sweeter for the APS-4 element in Japan and his battalion in Korea.

"In addition, this year - compared to years past - we were able to complete the entire issue process within our specified metrics," Petrowski said. "In fact, we issued the equipment to the boat crews within 24 hours [and] we conducted the inventories in [less than] seven hours. It really was a great learning experience for all of our personnel.

"So, from that perspective, just refining our process, making sure that the metrics that we set for ourselves are valid, and - from my perspective - exceeding those metrics, was very rewarding and very beneficial to our organization."

Page last updated Tue September 28th, 2010 at 00:00