Story by Seaman Jacob Vermeulen, Amphibious Construction Battalion 2
VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – Naval Beach Group Two, in conjunction with the Army’s 11th Transportation Battalion, and component commands recently completed exercise Trident Sun 18, in preparation for Operation Trident Juncture 18 this Fall.
During Trident Sun 18, Navy Support Element (NSE) personnel conducted Maritime Prepositioning Force (MPF) operations to provide training to reserve component personnel with regards to the instream offload of military vehicles and equipment from the Military Sealift Command’s (MSC) container and roll-on/roll-off ship USNS PFC Eugene A. Obregon (T-AK 3006).
The MSC’s prepositioned ships, such as USNS Obregon, strategically place ready to deploy military equipment and supplies around the world in support of the U.S Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and the Defense Logistics Agency during a major theater war, a humanitarian operation or other contingency.
Sailors and Seabees from NBG2 successfully offloaded more than 60 pieces of essential cargo onto Improved Navy Lighterage System (INLS) Causeway Ferries by utilizing the Roll On/Roll Off) Discharge Facility (RRDF) platform and shipboard cranes to load cargo directly from ship to ferry.
NBG2 is able to expedite the process of offloading equipment by utilizing both techniques, ensuring the maximum amount of warfighting supplies and equipment reaches friendly forces as quickly as possible.
Lieutenant junior-grade Anthony Holl, the officer in charge of Amphibious Construction Battalion Two’s Trident Sun detachment, said the exercise was important because it allowed Sailors to practice key mission capabilities and understand their individual roles from an operational perspective.
“It’s important to practice these skills regularly,” said Holl. “If our Sailors don’t practice, the skills depreciate and they’ll lose them over time.
Holl added that, in the context of MPF operations, the equipment and supplies for a complete Marine Expeditionary Brigade (MEB) requires the coordinated offload of five MPF ships.
“We’re not the trigger-pullers, we’re the sustainers,” said Holl. “You won’t know how important what we do is until you can’t pull the trigger anymore.”
Exercises like these are essential in establishing a standard of operational readiness and the cultivation of a skilled, experienced force.