FORT SHAFTER, Hawaii -- The 8th Theater Sustainment Command demonstrated its ability to deploy and employ theater assets in the Indo-Pacific region using Army watercraft by transporting High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems from Guam to Angaur, Palau, as part of the regional Defender Pacific 20 exercise in early September.
The logistic support vessel LTG William B. Bunker (LSV-4) transported HIMARS from the 1st Battalion, 94th Field Artillery Regiment, 17th Field Artillery Brigade to practice force projection and test the vessel’s capability to support critical command and theater requirements.
“Being able to set the theater and emplace defensive and offensive capabilities is paramount,” said Maj. Gen. David Wilson, commanding general, 8th TSC. “The 8th Theater Sustainment Command is strategically involved in making sure those priorities are met to ensure the Army is positioned to engage, fight and win in any conflict within the region.”
The mission of the Frank S. Besson-Class Logistics Support Vessel is to transport and discharge cargo and the support to roll-on and roll-off operations of cargo and vehicles at shallow terminal areas that could not otherwise be accessed by conventional watercraft.
The Defender Pacific 20 exercise produced three key outcomes for both the 8th TSC and 17th FAB.
First, it tested the 17th FAB’s ability to deploy and maintain the unit’s readiness and ability to execute unilateral training utilizing Army watercraft for an exercise related archipelagic defense. This was the second time the 17th FAB has transported a HIMARS via a LSV. The first time was 2018 in Hawaii.
"Our Brigade’s soldiers continue to validate capabilities in the employment of HIMARS and supported systems throughout the Pacific theater,” said, Maj. Brian Reynolds, operations officer, 17th FAB. “We are committed to strengthening relationships with allies and partners.”
Secondly, this showcased the LSV’s ability to transport equipment and long-range combat assets across the Indo-Pacific theatre in order to respond to any threat.
Finally, the training highlighted one example of strong partnerships with nations across the Indo-Pacific to support a dynamic forward posture with combat credible forces.
“It is vital for the U.S. to demonstrate a persistent presence here in Palau and across the greater Indo Pacific region. We have enjoyed a partnership for the past 75 years with Palau and it is as strong as ever,” said John Hennessey-Niland, U.S. Ambassador to Palau. “Military elements such as the Civic Action Team, Task Force Oceania Liaisons, and exercises like Koa Moana 20, Defender Pacific play important roles in demonstrating that presence and commitment.”
The 8th Theater Sustainment Command is the Pacific Theater’s senior Army logistics unit. The 8th TSC is responsible for synchronizing logistics and supply efforts for land operations throughout the vast region, and the unit's more than 2, 200 troops represent 167 different skill sets, with 35 unique capabilities, to include military police, explosive ordnance disposal, Army watercraft, dive, engineer, transportation, and sustainment operations.