USNS PFC Eugene A. Obregon: MSC’s cargo platform for #JLOTS12

By: Jessica Alexander

The following blog post is the second installment of a two-part series highlighting this year’s JLOTS exercise.

From the moment we checked onboard, it was clear that Military Sealift Command (MSC) container roll-on/roll-off ship USNS PFC Eugene A. Obregon (T-AK 3006) was the center of activity for this year’s Joint-Logistics-Over-the-Shore (JLOTS) exercise off the coast of Norfolk.

Newport News, Va. (August 22, 2012) Military Sealift Command container roll-on/roll-off ship USNS PFC Eugene A. Obregon (T-AK 3006) is anchored off the coast of Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story during Joint-Logistics-Over-the-Shore (JLOTS) 2012, an annual joint exercise sponsored by U.S. Transportation Command designed to demonstrate the real-world capability of the Department of Defense to transport supplies from ship to shore without a pier. The JLOTS capaility was most recently utilized during the U.S. response to the earthquake in Haiti in 2010. This year’s exercise occurs throughout the month of August. #JLOTS12

Operated by civilian contractmariners from Keystone Shipping Company, USNS Obregon served as the prepositioned ship that allowed troops from the Army’s 7th Sustainment Brigade and Navy Beach Group Two to test their capability to move cargo from ship to shore in event of a natural disaster or combat situation.

Initial planning began in Fall 2011 for this U.S. Transportation Command–sponsored exercise and the actual demonstration involved over 1,000 personnel, including MSC employees from Norfolk and Washington D.C.

During this year’s JLOTS exercise, five unique ship capabilities were demonstrated simultaneously from the decks and cargo holds of USNS Obregon.

Newport News, Va. (August 22, 2012) View from atop the “morgan crane” onboard USNS PFC Eugene A. Obregon (T-AK 3006), anchored off the coast of Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story during Joint-Logistics-Over-the-Shore (JLOTS) 2012, an annual joint exercise sponsored by U.S. Transportation Command designed to demonstrate the real-world capability of the Department of Defense to transport supplies from ship to shore without a pier. #JLOTS12

One of these unique capabilities included the USNS Obregon’s “morgan crane”. The only crane of its kind in today’s Navy, USNS Obregon’s “morgan crane” is capable of lifting and moving up to 500 tons quickly and efficiently.

Other capabilities included the port and starboard ramps utilized for vehicle offload; a stern ramp used for launch craft and other cargo movement; and the Amphibious Bulk Liquid Transfer System (ABLTS) which is a large hose capable of reaching 10,000 ft. to transfer water or fuel ashore.

All together, nearly 380 pieces of rolling stock and containers were discharged via lighterage from USNS Obregon ashore to the beach at Fort Story in a two-week time frame, culminating with a demonstration for military leadership onboard USNS Obregon, August 23.

I had the opportunity to observe the exercise in full force last week, while USNS Obregon was still anchored almost a mile off the coast. During my time aboard the ship, I met Bill Fish, a JLOTS expert and Navy civilian, who said that this year’s demonstration went off without a hitch.

The ship’s master, Capt. Rick Jordan, amplified this observation, saying his favorite part of the exercise was the joint teamwork.

Lt. Cmdr. Carolyn Hunter, the MSC Navy Liaison Officer assigned to JLOTS 2012, underscored the critical support from the ship’s crew, saying every member on board the ship contributed.

“The exercise is no small task and it takes true teamwork and professionalism to execute such a large-scale operation,” she said.

The JLOTS operation is critical to the U.S. military’s readiness, and MSC ships, like USNS Obregon are critical to JLOTS – prepositioned at sea, around the world, every day, operating forward and ready to deliver.

To read more about previous JLOTS exercises:

http://www.msc.navy.mil/sealift/2010/August/mendonca.htm

http://www.msc.navy.mil/sealift/2011/July/morocco.htm

http://www.msc.navy.mil/sealift/2009/August/transcom.htm

http://www.msc.navy.mil/sealift/2010/March/gap.htm

http://www.msc.navy.mil/sealift/2010/March/lummus.htm

http://www.msc.navy.mil/N00p/pressrel/press08/press35.htm

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