Sgt. Gaelen Lowers
8th Theater Sustainment Command Public Affairs
JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM — After nearly nine months away from friends and family, the 163rd Transportation Detachment, 524th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 45th Sust. Brigade, 8th Theater Sust. Command, has officially resumed operations with an uncasing ceremony at Missing Man Field, here, Feb. 8.
The detachment left in July 2011 to retrieve its logistics support vessel, or LSV, from Charleston, S.C. The detachment then sailed directly to support Operations Enduring Freedom and New Dawn throughout the Central Command area of responsibility.
The deployment came as a surprise to the Soldiers of the 163rd Trans. Det. The LSV was originally sent to Charleston for an extensive $2 million overhaul to update the vessel and extend its lifespan. It was one of eight Army LSVs receiving the service life extension program.
About 10 days before their scheduled return from Charleston, the unit received orders to deliver the LSV-5 to Kuwait to support Operation New Dawn, said Chief Warrant Officer 4 Alan Earley, commander, 163rd Trans. Det.
“What was at first a 90-day mission turned into a seven-month deployment,” Earley said. “The timeline allowed no time for block leave, no return home to say goodbye to loved ones, and only the minimum time allotted to make sure all deployment tasks were met.”
While deployed, the 163rd exceeded all standards and completed every assigned task, Earley continued.
At 274 feet long, the LSV is the largest of the Army’s watercraft. It can carry more than 2,000 short tons of cargo — that’s equivalent to 23 C-17 aircraft loads.
The unit’s training and discipline, Earley said, ensured all Soldiers came home safely with a perfect mission record and zero loss of equipment — with a hand receipt of more than $20 million.
“The resourcefulness, flexibility and drive of the 163rd has shown through all challenges and adversities that they have endured,” Earley said.
“It is with all my heart that I tell them now thank you for all the long hours, hard work and sacrifices. You were the right unit to perform a extremely difficult task. You have proven that you are not only top-notch mariners, but truly professional Soldiers, always ready to answer your nations call.”