JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii - The 8th Theater Sustainment Command welcomed the U.S. Army Vessel, Logistics Support Vessel-3 Gen. Brehon B. Somervell, to its Army watercraft fleet February 6 during a Hawaiian blessing ceremony at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.
The ceremony not only welcomed the LSV-3 Somervell to its new home at JBPH-H, but also changed its watch back to the mission and requirements of the active Army as part of the 8th Special Troops Battalion, 8th TSC. Prior to joining the fleet of the 8th TSC, the LSV-3 Somervell spent the majority of its Army career under the control of the U.S. Army Reserve.
Maj. Gen. Susan A. Davidson, the commanding general of the 8th TSC, said that the Pacific region gained an important asset with the addition of the LSV-3 Somervell, and highlighted that the region is leading the way for the importance of communication modernization for Army watercraft.
"Long before we sent a crew to Tacoma to begin the LSV-3 Somervell's voyage to join the 8th TSC, there was a long, arduous process to make others understand the benefits and requirements involved in adding another vessel," said Davidson. "The addition of this vessel allows us greater flexibility and speed to meet the needs of this very complex region. In moving the Somervell here, U.S. Pacific Command is truly gaining a strategic asset."
When ancient Hawaiians took long journeys across the region for sustainment missions, they blessed their craft prior to embarking. With the arrival of the LSV-3 Somervell, the 8th TSC wanted to welcome the vessel properly to the community it will serve.
Blessing the LSV-3 Somervell was Kahu La' Akea, a U.S. Army veteran and licensed minister. During his speech, La' Akea gave a brief history of Hawaiian watercraft and welcomed the LSV-3.
"During ancient times, our own ancestors utilized the double hulled canoe, called a Wa'a Kau-lua, to discover new lands and transport people between Tahiti, New Zealand, Tonga, Samoa and Hawaii. Hokulea is the name of our modern day Hawaiian vessel," he said. "Today, one of our own Army vessels, the LSV-3 Gen. Brehon B. Somervell exponentially replicates the process of highly skilled transportation and delivery. Let us pray for the Hawaiian christening of the LSV-3, that it may fulfill and exceed its purpose of its many intended missions."
The LSV-3 is one of only eight in the entire Army, and is the third one assigned to the 8th Special Troops Battalion, which are the LSV-2 CW3 Harold C. Clinger and the LSV-4 Lt. Gen. William B. Bunker. The vessels have a large ramp which allows them to get into places that other boats cannot. In the event that a port has an unimproved pier, or when there's no pier at all, the LSV can be used to ferry cargo from a larger vessel directly to the shore. Not dependent on seaports, Army watercraft provide fully integrated and organic waterborne transport in support of land force operations.
Crewed by 23 enlisted mariners, engineers and eight warrant officers, Army watercraft like the LSV and its sister, the landing craft utility or LCU, have been essential to the readiness of the Army and joint force in the region. They are capable of moving 2,000 short tons, or the equivalent of 24 M1A1 tanks.
Overall, Davidson stressed the importance of adding a third LSV to the 8th TSC's fleet and thanked the crews and families for their hard work and dedication to the command's mission.
"The addition of a third vessel allows us the resources needed to support readiness; that includes turning over crews, and supporting the time over distance required for a region that is 9,000 miles in diameter," she said. "I am very proud of our mariners and crew, and also extremely grateful to their families who allow them to do their job. This is a job that's often been described as the best kept secret in the Army, but it is also one with a significant amount of time away from their families and friend, without accruing dwell time."