FORT SHAFTER, Hawaii – Soldiers from the 10th Transportation Battalion (Terminal), 7th Transportation Brigade (Expeditionary), under the operational control of the 8th Theater Sustainment Command, completed the draw and sail of Army prepositioned stock in Guam, July 17, in support of Defender Pacific 2021.
In preparation for DP21, the 7th TBx Soldiers traveled from Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va., to Japan to draw and operate a Landing Craft Utility vessel and the Roll-on/Roll-off Discharge Facility, a component of the Modular Causeway System, from APS.
The Army outlines in ATP 3-35.1 that “the APS program is a cornerstone of the Army’s ability to rapidly project power.” Helping provide the Theater Army with the ability to rapidly conduct operations until air and sea lines of communication can be established by having critical equipment strategically staged across the region.
“APS further enables the Theater Army’s ability to rapidly deliver combat power over-the-shore, ensuring readiness and relevance in competition throughout the theater,” said 8th TSC Commanding General Maj. Gen. David Wilson.
After adhering to COVID-19 quarantine protocols, the 7th TBx Soldiers began conducting inventories and preventive maintenance checks as part of its Brigade Inspection Reconnaissance Exercise Program requirements. They built and uploaded the RRDF onto a Navy Military Sealift Command vessel and executed all pre-sail checks, prior to departing Japan.
“The BIREP allows the team to execute the deployment sequence and operationalize the draw, exercising, and recovery of APS,” said 10th Transportation Battalion Commander Lt. Col. Matthew. T. Amsdell. “It is critical for us to operate under a condensed timeline in the event we must execute operations in support of bringing the warfighter ashore.”
Once the equipment was signed over, the 8th TSC and synchronized with their Joint Logistics Enterprise partner the MSC to help transport the RRDF from Japan to Tinian aboard the U.S. Naval Ship Fisher. There the USNS Fisher anchored in preparation for a link up with 8th TSC's U.S. Army Vessel Lt. Gen. William B. Bunker (LSV-4) to conduct a joint maritime equipment transfer of the RRDF and complete the movement to Guam.
The LCU sailed from Japan to Guam across open waters while integrating with the joint maritime community, which tested the capabilities to extend their reach to the maximum distance of the vessel.
“The operation was a successful validation of the BIREP. It allowed for critical lessons learned that will be applied to future operations,” said Amsdell. “It also proved the principle in the maritime community that the vessels can execute a 200 nautical mile range and transverse open waters to extend operational reach of the Joint Force.”
Upon arrival in Guam, crews offloaded equipment and supplies as part of port operations, then immediately started preparation for follow-on missions in support of Defender Pacific 21.
“Army Watercraft provide the Theater Army and Joint Force unique intra-theater sealift capabilities to move personnel, equipment and supplies to the desired location via the littorals, inland waterways and rivers,” said Wilson. “This capability extends operational reach and supports freedom of action. Army watercraft are key enablers to achieving decisive action during unified land operations in the Indo-Pacific Command’s area of responsibility.”