LSV Lt. Gen. William B. Bunker one of Army’s largest watercraft
Story and Photos by
Spc. Marcus Fichtl
8th Military Police Brigade Public Affairs, 8th Theater Sustainment Command
JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM — The seasoned and battle-tested Soldiers of the 163rd Transportation Detachment, 524th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 8th Military Police Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, took responsibility of the Logistical Support Vessel, or LSV, Lt. Gen. William B. Bunker at the docks, here June 29.
The cutting of the ribbon represented the finale to a yearlong journey that started in June 2011 with a 45-day mission to Fort Eustis, Va., to pick up a different LSV.
But the unit never brought its own ship back to Hawaii.
“We got a call from the Department of the Army telling us there’s a slight change in plans,” said Chief Warrant Officer 3 Thomas Barnes, commander, 163 Trans. Det., 524th CSSB, 8th MP Bde., 8th TSC. “We were now deploying to Kuwait.”
For seven months, the unit conducted operations in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and New Dawn. But when the unit returned, it returned without its ship.
“Since late January, we have been an LSV detachment without an LSV, and even though we’ve been busy in that time, something big and haze-grey had been missing,” Barnes said.
As a large shadow slowly encompassed the formation of the 163rd Trans Det., one did not need to see the ship looming in the background to notice that something “big and haze-grey” was back.
Named after the general who revamped the Army’s aviation logistics, the Lt. Gen. William B. Bunker is part of the LSV fleet of “big haze-grey ships” and is one of the Army’s largest watercraft, measuring 274 feet from bow to stern with the capacity to carry more than 2,000 short tons.
After the Soldiers received their awards for their deployment, the unit’s guidon was placed on the stern of the ship, and things were right again. The waterborne Soldiers had their ship, and the ship had them.
“With this vessel and this crew, we will be finest ship in the fleet,” Barnes said.