Story and Photo by
2nd Lt. Robert M. Leedham
84th Engineer Battalion Public Affairs, 130th Eng. Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — It’s not every day an Army construction engineer maneuvers around passing vessels, with sounds of boat horns and scents of sea air.
However, current operations being conducted by the 84th Engineer Battalion, 130th Eng. Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, involve just these maneuvers, sounds and scents.
Soldiers of the battalion’s 561st Eng. Company are getting a taste of port operations while working with the crew of an Army Logistics Support Vessel, or LSV.
The operation commenced April 5, with the movement of the first LSV convoy from the 84th’s motor pool to the loading docks.
Four more convoys will follow during an 11-day period.
Crews took extensive preparatory actions, by preparing and positioning vehicles and equipment in the motor pool and then ensuring a smooth transition to the port.
Upon arrival at the docks, a platoon of the 561st Eng. Co. accepted the vehicles and equipment and, once again, positioned them in a designated area prepared for the vessel’s arrival.
While at the port, the 561st provided essential services to the LSV and its crew. Soldiers served as drivers, ground guides and tie-down crews. Soldiers acted under direction of the vessel master, as well as the officer in charge of the operations, 2nd Lt. Charles Payne, Maintenance Platoon leader.
“It’s an educational experience for everyone involved. The port operation is a great opportunity to see all of the moving parts of a deployment that aren’t necessarily seen in garrison,” Payne said. “There is a lot of coordination that goes into moving such a large amount of equipment — whether that be on ground, through air or over sea — and now we are much more able to perform these duties in future missions.”
Prior to the LSV mission, officers and noncommissioned officers received a guided tour of the vessel, a summary of its capabilities and a small lesson on the unique unit’s history. They learned about the living conditions of the crew — all of who live on the boat, 24 hours a day, during much of the year, and who serve in an MOS with only a few hundred Soldiers total.
Port operations are a large part of pre-deployment training taking place at the Pohakuloa Training Area, on the Big Island.