FORT EUSTIS, Va. (Jan. 20, 2010) -- Three Landing Craft Utility vessels, or LCUs, from the 97th Transportation Company (Heavy Boat) have been diverted from a training mission off the coast of Florida to Haiti in support of the relief effort.
The three LCUs will provide heavy-lift assets and a reverse osmosis water purification unit from Fort Lee's 49th Quartermaster Group in order to assist port-opening operations for the flow of relief into Haiti.
The LCU, typically crewed by a 12-Soldier team, is used to transport containerized cargo to conduct roll-on/roll-off loading procedures from ship to port. Taking in a 9-foot-draft, the LCU can be used to conduct Joint Logistics Over the Shore operations when there is no useable port.
"The 97th Transportation Company is unique because it is equipped with the 2000 series landing craft utility and it is the only unit in the active Army that has any LCUs," said Maj. Patrick Berry, 10th Transportation Battalion executive officer. The battalion is part of the 7th Sustainment Brigade out of Fort Eustis.
"They're a very shallow draft vessel that allows them to discharge cargo directly into an improved port, degraded port or directly onto the beach. In other words, we can go to areas hardest hit, as long as there is a beach, and we can deliver supplies and equipment directly where they are needed the most," Berry said.
A large tug with a barge derrick crane from the 7th Sustainment Brigade was also diverted from training to Haiti to assist in relief operations.
The tug will assist with heavy towing, and the crane will assist with heavy lift services.
A logistics support vessel is also currently being loaded with supplies to leave soon in support of Operation Unified Response.
(Monica Miller Rodgers serves with Fort Eustis Public Affairs)