Soldiers Sail to DC
November 29, 2012
WASHINGTON (Nov. 27, 2012) -- Soldiers onboard ships and watercraft is nothing new, but for many in the National Capital Region, the visit by the U.S. Army Landing Craft Utility (LCU) 2006 provides a chance to see some unique military support capabilities that may save lives.
"We want to highlight the various capabilities of the 7th Sustainment Brigade in general and its 10th Transportation Battalion's LCU 2006 in particular can provide to the various emergency response and federal agencies in the DC area if requested to do so," said Col. Jennifer Reinkober, commanding officer of the 7th Sustainment Brigade, Fort Eustis, Va. "This mission also provides the necessary underway time to train our engineering and deck side personnel as well as providing training for our future vessel masters."
The 7th Sustainment Brigade is the "Army's Navy." According to the unit's website, the 7th Sustainment Brigade is the only Composite Sustainment Brigade within the Active Component of the U.S. Army and its mission is to "conduct multi-modal transportation operations in support of the reception, staging, and onward movement of joint and/or combined forces into a theater of operations."
"We have a 10,000 nautical mile range and can drive up to any beach as long as we have 10 feet of water under our stern," said Chief Warrant Officer Two Nicholas Laferte, 10th Battalion Maritime operations officer. "We have a load capacity of 350 short tons, and can maintain 10 knots fully loaded. It took the vessel approximately six days during its deployment to Haiti."
LCU 2006 is berthed at the South West Waterfront Police pier, is 174 feet in length, 42 feet across the beam and normally carries a crew of 14. Its total load capacity is the equivalent of 15 fully loaded C-141 transport aircraft.
During the their port visit to DC, the Soldiers explained the details of their craft's capabilities to the Joint Force Headquarters - National Capital Region and the U.S. Army Military District of Washington Deputy Commander Egon Hawrylak and other staff members based at Fort Lesley J. McNair, just down the street from their pier side location.
If any DoD asset is requested by local civil authorities, those requests would be coordinated by the JFHQ-NCR/MDW whose mission is to plan, coordinate and maintain situational awareness, and as directed, partner in the employment of forces as a Joint Task Force to conduct homeland defense and civil support operations in the National Capital Region.
"The training we get from missions like this one to D.C. is great and sailing up the Potomac into the narrow channels and under structures like the Woodrow Wilson Bridge is pretty tight," said Chief Warrant Officer Two John Willis, LCU 2006 vessel master. "We purposely timed it with low tide, and had about 10 feet of clearance. But the crew loves this type of training, because we can highlight the capabilities we can bring to anywhere in the world if needed, even to the Nation's Capital."