JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR–HICKAM, Hawaii — The U.S. Navy Ship Watson arrived at Joint Base Pearl Harbor–Hickam on Nov. 29 for the first time ever to begin the dynamic employment of Army Prepositioned Stock-3 (Afloat) Fixed Forward operations in support of Operation Pathways 23.
Along with other materiel on board, the historic USNS Watson transported approximately 500 pieces of Army equipment, to be used throughout the Pacific, in support of Operation Pathways 23.
APS operations such as this allow the 8th Theater Sustainment Command to execute sustainment as a warfighting function in direct support of the Joint Force.
Between Nov. 29, 2022 and Dec. 6, 2022 approximately 500 pieces of equipment will be downloaded, transported and staged in preparation for home station inspections conducted by the Department of Agricultural Fishery and Forest.
To enable this dynamic employment operation, the 8th TSC serves as the command and control node, working alongside joint partners and strategic enablers from the Naval Support Fleet Command, U.S. Army Transportation Command, 25th Infantry Division, and the Military Sealift Command to download, transport and stage the equipment at Fort Shafter Flats, Hawaii until inspections begin in early 2023.
As the command and control node lead, the 8th Military Police Brigade provides oversight of the movement of equipment from the vessel to the staging yard, where the equipment will be held until it is relocated and utilized for Operation Pathways 23.
“Our primary functions are to synchronize and integrate Soldiers from across the U.S. Army Pacific Command and joint partners to download APS-3, battle track,and prepare for inward movement to support Operation Pathways,” said 8th MP Bde. Commander, Col. Charles A. Green. “Additionally, we are responsible to integrate safety into all aspects of the operation in accordance with Naval Port Operations’ protocols.”
The U.S. Army Prepositioned Stocks, both land-based and afloat, enable materiel power projection worldwide, enabling organizations to access forward positioned resources during contingency operations, which can be mobilized to support theater sustainment, distribution and opening. By storing equipment throughout the region, the APS reduces deployment timelines, improves sustainment capacity and capabilities, and rapidly delivers combat power to support contingency operations worldwide.
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. The Theater Army and Joint Force uses unique intra-theater sealift capabilities to move personnel, equipment and supplies to the desired location via the littorals, inland waterways and rivers.
“The Theater Army and Joint Force’s unique intra-theater sealift capabilities are used to move personnel, equipment, and supplies to the desired location,” explains Maj. Gen. Jered Helwig, commanding general of the 8th TSC. “This capability extends operational reach and supports freedom of action in the Indo-Pacific Command’s area of responsibility. It also enables decisive land power by delivering foundational sustainment capabilities to the Joint Force.”
Maj. Gen. Helwig explains the importance of these operations for the sustainers throughout the formation. Missions such as these act as training opportunities similar to rotations ground combat units get at the Joint Pacific Multinational Training Center.
“An Infantry Brigade Combat Team conducts a Field Training Exercise leading up to a training rotation … this is our FTX, and it’s how we will execute theater distribution across multiple islands and countries,” said Helwig.
From January to March 2023, the equipment will go through the inspections to clear the equipment for Operation Pathways 23.