Army takes to the sea in Japan exercise
A 481st Transportation Company Soldier briefs a member of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government aboard the USAV Fort McHenry, participating in a joint Japan-U.S. evacuation drill. The vessel is one of 36 kept in readiness at Yokohama North Dock, Japan, part of Army Pre-positioned Stocks managed by Army Sustainment Command.

ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL, Ill - With the memory of last year's devastating earthquake and tsunami fresh in their minds, Japanese and American authorities joined forces in early February to practice evacuation and relief operations.

Army watercraft, part of Army Sustainment Command's fleet of pre-positioned vessels, played a key role in the exercise.

"We have 36 watercraft kept in readiness at Yokohama North Dock," said Chief Warrant Officer 5 Doug Workman, program manager for Army Pre-positioned Stocks - Watercraft at ASC headquarters here.

For this exercise, Army Field Support Battalion -- Northeast Asia delivered the U.S. Army Vessel Fort McHenry (Landing Craft Utility 2020). The 174-foot-long vessel is one of 10 LCU 2000-series in APS-4 stocks at Yokohama, Workman said.

A shallow-draft vessel, the USAV Fort McHenry is ideally suited to evacuating people from locations lacking deep-water port capability.

At the outset of the recently concluded exercise, AFSBn -- NEA tested its skills, ensuring a smooth handoff to transportation Soldiers.

"We take care to make sure everything is in top condition, which the people who work at Yokohama North Dock helped by keeping this equipment in perfect shape," said Chief Warrant Officer 4 Anthony Moschella, vessel master assigned to 481st Transportation Company, based in Mare Island, Calif.

In the course of the exercise, Soldiers assigned to the 836th Transportation Battalion and the 481st performed sealift operations, sailing the Fort McHenry with 53 passengers aboard, including Japanese reporters and exercise "evacuees."

Evacuation shelters were set up on the open deck of the vessel to protect people from harsh weather. Soldiers gave a briefing and tour of the vessel to passengers to demonstrate to them the capabilities of the LCU, which include carrying up to 150 tons of supplies, personnel or equipment.

Army watercraft in Japan are just part of a vast collection of Army Pre-positioned Stocks, managed by Army Sustainment Command through its global network of Army Field Support Brigades and Battalions.

Page last updated Thu February 9th, 2012 at 14:30