WEST LOCH, Hawaii – After ten months of planning, and coordination between five organizations, a vessel carrying 167 containers full of various munitions needed to support operation in Hawaii arrived at the piers at U.S. Naval Base, Pearl Harbor, Naval Ammunition Depot West Loch.
“From everything that we’ve been told this is a very rare containerized munitions operation to Hawaii. Usually the Hawaii Garrison relies on opportune lift space from the Navy which is delivered break bulk,” said Chief Warrant Officer Tori Sanders, the senior ammunition warrant officer for the United States Army Pacific.
Of the 167 containers, 45 containers carried munitions for the Air Force and Marines, while soldiers borrowed from the 25th Infantry Division moved the remaining 122 containers to the current Army storage facility at the Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam Lualualei Annex.
This multi-organization operation involved synchronization between the 402nd Army Field Support Brigade (AFSB), leading the logistics and acting as the direct link to the Joint Munitions Command (JMC), the Naval Supply Systems Command who ran the port operations, and USARPAC G4 Munitions. The 402nd AFSB Accountable Officer Ted Mchugh coordinated the container operations at the wharf and the movement to the Ammunition Supply Activity.
“As the liaison to JMC, I provided the bird’s eye view of the operation by leading the coordination of the organizations here with the depots on the mainland, where the munitions were coming from,” said Ken Davis, the JMC Senior Command Representative for the 402nd/INDOPACOM area of responsibility. With over 40 years of ammunitions experience, Davis understands the planning involved at each phase of an operation such as this one.
Once the plan was in place, Davis and his team monitored the transport of the munitions from the depots to the Military Ocean Terminal Concord in California, where it was then loaded on to the vessel. Then from the West Loch piers to Lualualei, ensuring safe handling and practices along the way.
USARPAC is not the only location to receive an ammo resupply with the help of the 402nd this year. A vessel with 59 containers arrived in the Port of Valdez, Alaska mid-September.
Unlike Hawaii, USARAK off-loads a munitions barge at the Port of Valdez twice annually. With the assistance of the Surface Deployment and Distribution Command and 883rd Transportation Battalion, the recent vessel was offloaded and transported to three different locations; Fort Wainwright, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson and Eielson AFB.
“The movement of munitions in Alaska poses a different set of obstacles that must be thoroughly thought through,” said Army Field Support Battalion-Alaska’s special operations officer Maj. Jacob A. Elders. “Depending on the time of year for the resupply, we have to take Alaska’s winter road conditions into consideration for the transport of the ammunition once it is off-loaded,” said Elders.
Each munitions resupply, no matter the location, requires extensive planning and precise execution due to the handling of hazardous materials. The 402nd teams in Hawaii and Alaska ensure all organizations participating in resupply missions follow the highest quality safety measures, as directed by the Army’s Ammunition and Explosives Safety Standards.
The 402nd team was happy to report there were no accidents or incidents during the resupplies in 2020.
“With the resupplies now complete, Army commands throughout Hawaii and Alaska have the munitions needed for exercises and training events scheduled for 2021 and beyond,” said Davis.