Transportation detachment receives own 'big haze grey ship'
July 9, 2012
JOINT BASE HICKAM PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii ---The Soldiers of the 163rd Transportation Detachment, 524th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 45th Sustainment Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, took responsibility of the Logistical Support Vessel Lt. Gen. William B. Bunker, at the docks here, June 29.
The ribbon cutting represented the finale to a year-long journey that started June 2011 with a 45-day mission to Fort Eustis, Va., to pick up a different Logistical Support Vessel, known as an LSV.
But they never brought it back to Hawaii.
"We got a call from the Department of the Army telling us there's a slight change in plans," said Chief Warrant Officer 3 Thomas Barnes, commander, 163 Trans. Det. "We were now deploying to Kuwait."
For seven months the unit conducted operations in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation New Dawn.
But when the unit returned, it returned without its ship.
"Since late January we have been an LSV detachment without a LSV, and even though we've been busy in that time, "Barnes continued, "something big and haze grey had been missing."
But as a large shadow slowly encompassed the formation of the 163rd Trans Det. One did not need to see the ship looming in the background to notice that something "big and haze grey" was back. You could see it in the Soldiers faces.
They had a home on the sea again. The LSV Lt. Gen. William B. Bunker had arrived.
Named after the general who revamped the Army's aviation logistics, the vessel is part of the LSV fleet of "big haze grey ships," the Army's largest watercraft, which measures 274 feet from bow to stern with the capacity to carry more than 2,000 short tons.
The Soldiers received their awards for their deployment, the ribbon was cut, and the unit's guidon was placed on the stern on the ship.
Things were right again; things were whole. The waterborne Soldiers had their ship and the ship had them.
"With this vessel and this crew, we will be finest ship in the fFleet," said Barnes.