Planned Fort Lee facility to help train military members to load, unload ships
Maj. Gen. Mark T. Simerly, CASCOM and Fort Lee commanding general (fourth from left) and Col. Frederick L. Crist, Chief of Transportation (fifth from left), participate in a groundbreaking ceremony marking the announcement of a planned land ship that will enhance transportation training here (Photo Credit: T. Anthony Bell) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT LEE, Va. – Preparation work has begun on a new land ship training facility that will enhance the installation’s multimodal training area.

A groundbreaking ceremony for the facility took place March 8 at Training Area 10, also called the multimodal training area, in the northeast quadrant of the main post near the main exchange.

Col. Frederick L. Crist, Chief of Transportation and Commandant, Transportation School, hosted the event. In attendance were Maj. Gen. Mark T. Simerly, CASCOM and Fort Lee commanding general; several of his staff members; and others associated with the project.

With dimensions of 80 feet long and 25 feet wide, the land ship is designed primarily as a vehicle transport vessel with tie-downs inside and ramps at both ends. It will allow Soldiers and others to conduct “roll-on, roll-off” training meant to simulate actual operations in which vehicles are driven onto vessels, secured, and then driven off.

Crist, in his first year as COT, said the land ship will complete a plan to provide an all-encompassing transportation training area.

“This groundbreaking ceremony marks the continuation of a vision to provide first-class training facilities in support of deployments and distribution operations at strategic and tactical levels of operation,” he said.

The training area already includes fuselages for C-17 and C130 aircraft as well as flat-deck rail cars adjacent to the land ship area. All are used to train troops in the loading and off-loading of cargo and equipment.

The land ship is a training facility similar to one standing at 3rd Port, Joint Base Langley-Eustis, said Trenton Lykes, director, Transportation Management Training Directorate, Transportation School.

“The purpose of a land ship is to provide terminal training for individuals without having to be on a real ship,” he said. “It’s a mockup for the inside of a ship.”

Transporters will be the primary users of land ship, however, Lykes said use of the facility will be open to all in the sustainment community and beyond.

“This is not just for the Transportation School but the greater community here,” he said. “It’s going to turn the training area into a true intermodal site.”

TA 10 is primarily used to train 88N transportation management coordinators, the only transportation advanced individual training military occupational specialty taught at Fort Lee.

According to Kyle Alford, general engineer, Department of Public Works, the project is expected to cost $2.7 million.

Tidewater Development Services Corporation, a company based in Virginia Beach, is the general contractor.

The land ship is scheduled to be completed in January 2023.