Military Sealift Command Public Affairs
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Adrian Schulte (202) 685-5055
September 15, 2010
Successful onload of prepositioning ship USNS Soderman aboard NWS Charleston
By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jennifer Hudson, Joint Base Charleston Public Affairs
Prepositioning ship USNS Soderman received more than 2,000 pieces of equipment over a 10-day period at Naval Weapons Station Charleston Sept. 7 through Sept. 17.
The on-load included HUMVEEs, armored vehicles, generators and ambulances that will be available for military uses. Prepositioning ships support all military branches as well as the Defense Logistics Agency to ensure rapid availability of equipment during times of crisis.
"We have been preparing for this mission for about two months," said Lt. Cmdr. Brian Mowery, 841st Army Transportation Battalion deputy commander. "Loading the Army Prepositioning Stock equipment on to the Large Medium Speed Roll-on/Roll-off vessel, USNS Soderman, is one of the largest operations we deal with here at the weapons station."
NWS Charleston crew members worked tirelessly alongside the 841st Transportation Battalion, Army Strategic Logistics Activity Charleston, Military Sealift Command and various contracting partners.
"Teamwork is essential for this type of operation. We understand that the mission is important and we have to get the ship loaded and out on time. Everyone really came together to make this happen," said Lt. Colonel Ines White, 841st Transportation Battalion commander. "Without one piece of the puzzle we could not complete the whole picture."
The ships allow the military the capability to receive needed equipment in a timely manner in order to respond quickly to any emergency. They provide quick movement of military gear between operating areas without relying on other nation's modes of transportation.
"It is critical that we do not have to rely on the infrastructure support of other nations to deliver the equipment to our troops," said Lieutenant Commander Mowery.
After the on-load the USNS Soderman will set sail and anchor in the Western Pacific, where the ship will stay for more than two years, switching out the crew every four months.
"So far everything has gone according to plan--we are right on track and moving along quite smoothly," said Chris Spain, ship's Master of the USNS Soderman.
Once the ship's two and half year tour is completed, it will return to port where the equipment onboard will receive maintenance and upgrades, or will be replaced with completely different gear before returning to sea. The equipment, like many things, has a life-cycle that may need to be repaired from rust or any damage before it can be used.
There are currently more than 25 prepositioning ships distributed among the branches of the military, strategically placed around the world.
"We are right on schedule and I am really pleased with all that hard work that is going into this operation," said Bob O'Brien, the general manager of ASLAC. "I don't think we could have been as successful as we are right now if it wasn't for all the teamwork we have."
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