Military Sealift Command Public Affairs
For more information, contact:
Sarah E. Burford 619-524-9609
Sealift Logistics Command Pacific
August 6, 2010
Sailors practice offloading vehicles from a Military Sealift Command
cargo ship off the coast of San Diego
Military Sealift Command large, medium-speed, roll-on/roll-off ship USNS Pililaau served as an invaluable training platform to Commander, Naval Beach Group One off the coast of San Diego Aug. 2-5.
During the exercise, the Sailors of Beach Group One used the Improved Navy Lighterage System - comprised of motorized and non-motorized barges - to transport 48 military vehicles four miles out to Pililaau's anchorage, load the vehicles into the 950-foot long ship's cavernous cargo holds and then reverse the process to transport the vehicles back to shore.
The motorized barges of tshe INLS transported the cargo from the shore out to the ship, where the vehicles were driven onto a large floating platform constructed using the INLS' non-motorized barges at the end of Pililaau's stern ramp. After being staged on the platform, vehicles were driven up the ship's ramp into the cargo holds. To offload the ship, the process was reversed.
This process is called logistics over the shore.
Working during day and night operations, 80 Navy and Marine Corps personnel practiced using the INLS.
"Being able to train with Pililaau, and to use the INLS was a great opportunity for us," said Lt. Cmdr. Mike Henry, Naval Beach Group One operations planning officer. "Training in a calm sea state like we have off the Silver Strand lets us work in a very safe environment and lets us train so that when we have to deploy this system or work with a ship like Pililaau in higher seas, we can calmly adapt to the situation and get the mission accomplished."
In addition to the INLS training, Naval Beach Group One also conducted security training.
The training opportunities with Pililaau came about as the ship prepared to move from its layberth in Vancouver, Wash., to San Diego. With hours to activate and transit to San Diego, the scenario mimicked the real-world operations that the ship and Beach Group one could encounter in an operational situation, such as those faced by MSC Maritime Prepositioning Force ships USNS 1ST LT Jack Lummus and USNS PFC Dewayne T. Williams in responding to the humanitarian crisis in Haiti earlier this year.
Following the exercise, Pililaau continued on to Naval Station San Diego, where the ship is expected to remain layberthed until the spring of 2010.
"This has been a really good opportunity for all the groups to get together and get some training," said Capt. Tina Vanderploeg, Pililaau's civilian master. "Working with the INLS was challenging, given the fact that we were empty of cargo, but it was an invaluable education for the 30 mariners onboard and the military people from the units training with us."
Pililaau is crewed by civilian mariners working for a private ship operating company under charter to MSC.
MSC operates approximately 110 noncombatant, civilian-crewed ships that replenish U.S. Navy ships, conduct specialized missions, strategically preposition combat cargo at sea around the world and move military cargo and supplies used by deployed U.S. forces and coalition partners.
Return to 2010 Press Release archive...