Army Reserve 'Sailors,' Joint Forces Bring Hope to Remote Alaskan People

By Capt. Christopher Larsen (USARC)August 13, 2010

The U.S. Army Vessel Palo Alto beaches in Bethel, Alaska, after making the almost two-day trip from the remote village of Mertarvik.
1 / 24 Show Caption + Hide Caption – The U.S. Army Vessel Palo Alto beaches in Bethel, Alaska, after making the almost two-day trip from the remote village of Mertarvik. (Photo Credit: Capt. Christopher Larsen) VIEW ORIGINAL
Lt. Col. Tom Ladley, right, a physician assistant with the Pennsylvania Air National Guard's 193rd Special Operations Wing, Harrisburg, sits with Capt. Chad Hailey, a Marine reservist and commander of Headquarters and Support Company, 6th Engineer Support Battalion, at Camp Mertarvik, Alaska. Ladley is providing medical support to the troops working at the remote outpost, 450 miles from Anchorage.
2 / 24 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Lt. Col. Tom Ladley, right, a physician assistant with the Pennsylvania Air National Guard's 193rd Special Operations Wing, Harrisburg, sits with Capt. Chad Hailey, a Marine reservist and commander of Headquarters and Support Company, 6th Engineer Support Battalion, at Camp Mertarvik, Alaska. Ladley is providing medical support to the troops working at the remote outpost, 450 miles from Anchorage. (Photo Credit: Capt. Christopher Larsen) VIEW ORIGINAL
Tents strain against their anchors at Camp Mertarvik, Alaska. Winds in excess of 25 knots are common, and tents have been blown away during strong gusts. It isn't all bad, though; the wind keeps mosquitoes away. "They'll suck you
3 / 24 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Tents strain against their anchors at Camp Mertarvik, Alaska. Winds in excess of 25 knots are common, and tents have been blown away during strong gusts. It isn't all bad, though; the wind keeps mosquitoes away. "They'll suck you (Photo Credit: Capt. Christopher Larsen) VIEW ORIGINAL
Marines unload an Alaska Army National Guard UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter at Camp Mertarvik, Alaska. Helicopters are the only way to deliver people to the remote outpost, located about 450 air miles from Anchorage; the camp has no airstrip.
4 / 24 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Marines unload an Alaska Army National Guard UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter at Camp Mertarvik, Alaska. Helicopters are the only way to deliver people to the remote outpost, located about 450 air miles from Anchorage; the camp has no airstrip. (Photo Credit: Capt. Christopher Larsen) VIEW ORIGINAL
A lone Marine walks from the supply area at Camp Mertarvik, Alaska. Service members from the Army Reserve, Marine Reserve, Navy Reserve and Army and Air National Guard are working to relocate a native village that is being destroyed by erosion.
5 / 24 Show Caption + Hide Caption – A lone Marine walks from the supply area at Camp Mertarvik, Alaska. Service members from the Army Reserve, Marine Reserve, Navy Reserve and Army and Air National Guard are working to relocate a native village that is being destroyed by erosion. (Photo Credit: Capt. Christopher Larsen) VIEW ORIGINAL
The Durabase mat road built by Marine Reserve engineers and Navy Reserve Seabees, Camp Mertarvik, Alaska. In some spots, the road is underlaid with four to five feet of rock and gravel, to allow drainage and stability due to the tundra.
6 / 24 Show Caption + Hide Caption – The Durabase mat road built by Marine Reserve engineers and Navy Reserve Seabees, Camp Mertarvik, Alaska. In some spots, the road is underlaid with four to five feet of rock and gravel, to allow drainage and stability due to the tundra. (Photo Credit: Capt. Christopher Larsen) VIEW ORIGINAL
A heavy forklift moves pallets of Durabase mats, used to build a road across the tundra, Camp Mertarvik, Alaska. Each mat weighs more than 1,000 pounds.
7 / 24 Show Caption + Hide Caption – A heavy forklift moves pallets of Durabase mats, used to build a road across the tundra, Camp Mertarvik, Alaska. Each mat weighs more than 1,000 pounds. (Photo Credit: Capt. Christopher Larsen) VIEW ORIGINAL
USAV Palo Alto arrives from Bethel, Alaska, with a load of Durabase mats, used to build a road across the tundra at Camp Mertarvik. Each mat weighs more than 1,000 pounds.
8 / 24 Show Caption + Hide Caption – USAV Palo Alto arrives from Bethel, Alaska, with a load of Durabase mats, used to build a road across the tundra at Camp Mertarvik. Each mat weighs more than 1,000 pounds. (Photo Credit: Chief Warrant Officer 5 Brett Radford) VIEW ORIGINAL
A Marine Reserve lance corporal at Camp Mertarvik, Alaska, holds a 'care package' sent by the USO. A joint force made up of Army, Marine, and Navy reservists, and Arny and Air National Guard members is working together in this remote outpost to build a new village for a Native Alaskan tribe.
9 / 24 Show Caption + Hide Caption – A Marine Reserve lance corporal at Camp Mertarvik, Alaska, holds a 'care package' sent by the USO. A joint force made up of Army, Marine, and Navy reservists, and Arny and Air National Guard members is working together in this remote outpost to build a new village for a Native Alaskan tribe. (Photo Credit: Capt. Christopher Larsen) VIEW ORIGINAL
Houses built by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development wait for their new occupants in Mertarvik, Alaska. The native Yup'ik village of Newtok, 10 miles away, is being relocated due to erosion caused by the expanding Ninglick River.
10 / 24 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Houses built by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development wait for their new occupants in Mertarvik, Alaska. The native Yup'ik village of Newtok, 10 miles away, is being relocated due to erosion caused by the expanding Ninglick River. (Photo Credit: Capt. Christopher Larsen) VIEW ORIGINAL
A lone Marine walks towards Camp Mertarvik, Alaska, a remote outpost some 450 miles from Anchorage. Service members from the Army Reserve, Marine Reserve, Navy Reserve and Army and Air National Guard are working to relocate a native village that is being destroyed by erosion.
11 / 24 Show Caption + Hide Caption – A lone Marine walks towards Camp Mertarvik, Alaska, a remote outpost some 450 miles from Anchorage. Service members from the Army Reserve, Marine Reserve, Navy Reserve and Army and Air National Guard are working to relocate a native village that is being destroyed by erosion. (Photo Credit: Capt. Christopher Larsen) VIEW ORIGINAL
USAV Palo Alto steers into position prior to beaching at Camp Mertarvik, Alaska. The Ninglick River's swift current and sometimes-unpredictable tides can make beaching the 174-foot-long landing craft a tricky proposition.
12 / 24 Show Caption + Hide Caption – USAV Palo Alto steers into position prior to beaching at Camp Mertarvik, Alaska. The Ninglick River's swift current and sometimes-unpredictable tides can make beaching the 174-foot-long landing craft a tricky proposition. (Photo Credit: Capt. Christopher Larsen) VIEW ORIGINAL
USAV Palo Alto beaches at Punxsutawney Pier, Camp Mertarvik, Alaska. The boat is crewed by members of the 709th Transportation Company, a U.S. Army Reserve unit from Tacoma, Wash. The pier is named in honor of Pennsylvania's famous Punxsutawney Phil and the movie 'Groundhog Day,' because, according to one soldier, "it's the same here every day."
13 / 24 Show Caption + Hide Caption – USAV Palo Alto beaches at Punxsutawney Pier, Camp Mertarvik, Alaska. The boat is crewed by members of the 709th Transportation Company, a U.S. Army Reserve unit from Tacoma, Wash. The pier is named in honor of Pennsylvania's famous Punxsutawney Phil and the movie 'Groundhog Day,' because, according to one soldier, "it's the same here every day." (Photo Credit: Capt. Christopher Larsen) VIEW ORIGINAL
Spc. Brad Bentow, left, and Cpl. Jason Miravalle of the 709th Transportation Company strap empty 55-gallon gasoline drums onto the deck of Palo Alto for the trip back to Bethel. All fuel and supplies have to be brought in on the boat's cargo runs.
14 / 24 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Spc. Brad Bentow, left, and Cpl. Jason Miravalle of the 709th Transportation Company strap empty 55-gallon gasoline drums onto the deck of Palo Alto for the trip back to Bethel. All fuel and supplies have to be brought in on the boat's cargo runs. (Photo Credit: Capt. Christopher Larsen) VIEW ORIGINAL
Sgt. Bryan Hanlon of the 709th Transportation Company checks engine instruments on board Palo Alto. Hanlon, a watercraft engineer, is part of the team that keeps the boat running, no matter what.
15 / 24 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Sgt. Bryan Hanlon of the 709th Transportation Company checks engine instruments on board Palo Alto. Hanlon, a watercraft engineer, is part of the team that keeps the boat running, no matter what. (Photo Credit: Capt. Christopher Larsen) VIEW ORIGINAL
Spc. Jerome Wills, right, a food service specialist on board Palo Alto, gives a haircut to Spc. Nathan Valadez, the boat's medic. Members of the 709th Transportation Company, a U.S. Army Reserve unit from Tacoma, Wash., have been in Alaska since June helping supply a remote outpost. The crew is away from any of the usual comforts of home.
16 / 24 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Spc. Jerome Wills, right, a food service specialist on board Palo Alto, gives a haircut to Spc. Nathan Valadez, the boat's medic. Members of the 709th Transportation Company, a U.S. Army Reserve unit from Tacoma, Wash., have been in Alaska since June helping supply a remote outpost. The crew is away from any of the usual comforts of home. (Photo Credit: Capt. Christopher Larsen) VIEW ORIGINAL
Palo Alto sails through foggy weather off the coast of Alaska in the Bering Sea. Weather conditions can change almost instantly, and the crew has to always be ready.
17 / 24 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Palo Alto sails through foggy weather off the coast of Alaska in the Bering Sea. Weather conditions can change almost instantly, and the crew has to always be ready. (Photo Credit: Capt. Christopher Larsen) VIEW ORIGINAL
Staff Sgt. David Kartchner of the 709th Transportation Company, first mate on Palo Alto, radios instructions to the crew offloading the vessel.
18 / 24 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Staff Sgt. David Kartchner of the 709th Transportation Company, first mate on Palo Alto, radios instructions to the crew offloading the vessel. (Photo Credit: Capt. Christopher Larsen) VIEW ORIGINAL
The bridge changes hands every four hours. Here, a new watch crew takes over. From left, Cpl. Leonard Delong, Pfc. Jordan Habenicht, Staff Sgt. Dawn Bayeur, Cpl. Jason Miravalle, and Staff Sgt. David Kartchner, all of the 709th Transportation Company.
19 / 24 Show Caption + Hide Caption – The bridge changes hands every four hours. Here, a new watch crew takes over. From left, Cpl. Leonard Delong, Pfc. Jordan Habenicht, Staff Sgt. Dawn Bayeur, Cpl. Jason Miravalle, and Staff Sgt. David Kartchner, all of the 709th Transportation Company. (Photo Credit: Capt. Christopher Larsen) VIEW ORIGINAL
Spc. Brandon Hall of the 709th Transportation Company loads cargo on board the USAV Palo Alto in Mertarvik, Alaska. The remote outpost has to be completely supplied by boat or air.
20 / 24 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Spc. Brandon Hall of the 709th Transportation Company loads cargo on board the USAV Palo Alto in Mertarvik, Alaska. The remote outpost has to be completely supplied by boat or air. (Photo Credit: Capt. Christopher Larsen) VIEW ORIGINAL
Army Reserve soldiers of the 709th Transportation Company load cargo aboard Palo Alto in Mertarvik, Alaska, prior to the vessel's 41-hour trip to Bethel.
21 / 24 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Army Reserve soldiers of the 709th Transportation Company load cargo aboard Palo Alto in Mertarvik, Alaska, prior to the vessel's 41-hour trip to Bethel. (Photo Credit: Capt. Christopher Larsen) VIEW ORIGINAL
Spc. Joshua Way of the 709th Transportation Company loads cargo aboard Palo Alto in Mertarvik, Alaska, as Chief Warrant Officer 4 Lonnie Moon, the boat's chief engineer, looks on.
22 / 24 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Spc. Joshua Way of the 709th Transportation Company loads cargo aboard Palo Alto in Mertarvik, Alaska, as Chief Warrant Officer 4 Lonnie Moon, the boat's chief engineer, looks on. (Photo Credit: Capt. Christopher Larsen) VIEW ORIGINAL
From left, Spc. Brad Bentow, Spc. Brandon Hall, and Pfc. Jordan Habenicht, all of the 709th Transportation Company, wait for Palo Alto. During offloading operations the river tide went out, and the soldiers were stuck on shore until Palo Alto's small outboard could come retrieve them.
23 / 24 Show Caption + Hide Caption – From left, Spc. Brad Bentow, Spc. Brandon Hall, and Pfc. Jordan Habenicht, all of the 709th Transportation Company, wait for Palo Alto. During offloading operations the river tide went out, and the soldiers were stuck on shore until Palo Alto's small outboard could come retrieve them. (Photo Credit: Capt. Christopher Larsen) VIEW ORIGINAL
The U.S.Army Vessel Palo Alto loaded in Tacoma, Wash., preparing to sail for Bethel, Alaska.
24 / 24 Show Caption + Hide Caption – The U.S.Army Vessel Palo Alto loaded in Tacoma, Wash., preparing to sail for Bethel, Alaska. (Photo Credit: Chief Warrant Officer 5 Brett Radford) VIEW ORIGINAL