SEWARD, Alaska -- Forces from Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) 3 and Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force Alaska began crises response training in Seward, Alaska, Sept. 16.
The event marks the first time critical naval systems like the Amphibious Bulk Liquid Transfer System (ABLTS) have been used in the Arctic region. The ABLTS hose system provides a means of transferring bulk liquid including fuel, oil or water, from platforms at sea to the shore as a part of the Navy’s Defense Support to Civil Authorities (DSCA) mission.
“In addition to providing maritime dominance and power projection,” said Rear Adm. Cedric Pringle, commander, ESG 3, “The U.S. Navy conducts DSCA exercises to prepare and enable us to respond to crises or natural disasters at home or abroad. Training our joint Navy and Marine Corps force to respond to crises specifically in the Arctic is an integral part of being ready to respond to any mission in the Indo-Pacific, anytime and anywhere.”
USS Comstock (LSD 45) transported the ABLTS system from San Diego to Seward, marking the first time the ABLTS system has been transferred by one of the Navy’s amphibious class ships.
In Seward, ABLTS will pump water from a barge off the coast of Seward’s 4th of July Beach to a fuel farm located on the beach. The fuel farm consists of three 20,000 gallon bags.
“If a natural disaster were to take out a costal town’s power, gas stations or drinkable water anywhere in the world, we could fill a barge and send it to the affected region,” explained Pringle. “Systems like ABLTS and our ability to transfer thousands of gallons of liquids like drinkable water or fuel are critical during contingencies, crises response or humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.”
Arctic Expeditionary Capabilities Exercise 2019 (AECE) is one in a series of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command exercises in 2019 that prepares joint forces to respond to crisis in the Indo-Pacific. As a whole, AECE will specifically test joint expeditionary force logistical transfer capabilities in the Arctic environment, including wet logistics over the shore, expeditionary mine countermeasures, mobile diving and salvage and an offshore petroleum discharge system. Navy and Marine Corps participants will conduct operational and tactical actions to validate Littoral Operations in a Contested Environment (LOCE) and the Expeditionary Advanced Base Operations (EABO) concepts.
U.S. 3rd Fleet leads naval forces in the Indo-Pacific and provides the realistic, relevant training necessary for an effective global Navy. U.S. 3rd Fleet works in close coordination with U.S. 7th Fleet to provide commanders with capable, ready assets across the spectrum of military operations in the Indo-Pacific.