SAIPAN HARBOR, Saipan -- Sailors assigned to Navy Cargo Handling Bataillon (NCHB) 1 conduct training operation on the Military Sealift Command’s maritime prepositioning force container, roll-on/roll-off and mobile landing platform ship USNS Dahl (T-AKR 312) Fleet replenishment oiler USNS Walter H. Dahl (T-AKR 312), Sept. 8.
During the week-long training mission to Saipan the Sailors conducted lift operations, rigging training, medical training and qualified crane operators.
One of the first evolutions that the Sailors of NCHB 1 must complete is a complete inventory of their hatch box.
“Once we arrive on the ship we are conducting operations on, we will complete an 100% inventory of all the gear in the hatch box,” said Lt. Chad Cooper, Officer in Charge NCHB 1 Det. Guam, a native of Toledo, Ohio. “We must ensure that all of our gear is where we need it to be, and report any discrepancies if there are any to higher headquarters.”
The cargo handling team must be ready to get underway and ready to conduct cargo handling operations in timely manner.
“We need to be able to conduct this mission anywhere in the world,” said Cooper. “We are on a 72-hour tether to get out the door to execute cargo handling operations onboard a Maritime Pre-positioning Force (MPF) ships.”
On site training on the MPF ships is important because it allows the Sailors to be able to master their watch bill stations.
“Training like this is important because it helps the Sailors to become more proficient and able to master their watch bill assignments and it also allows them to train to their next level of qualifications,” said Cooper.
The training has been beneficial to all that were involved, and helps them to become ready for any real-world operations.
“I feel that being out here has been a great training opportunity,” said Boatswain’s Mate 2 nd Class Esteban Reyes Feliz, hatch team member, a native of Lincoln Park, Michigan. “We are building muscle memory so when we are actually going out to do real evolutions our bodies and minds are ready to go and its second nature and we are ready to kill it.”
Sailors conducting training on the MPF ships is important because the minimally manned ships.
“NCHB provides the manpower and the expertise that the vessel is not staffed to do and also it’s is their cargo,” said Joseph E. Hood, Master USNS Dahl. “In a manner of speaking we are the UBER, we drive it, we get the cargo (the equipment) where it is needed. We need extra people to move the equipment so that’s the relationship, in other words we can’t do it without them.”
NCHB-1, Detachment Guam, assigned to Commander, Task Force 75, is the Navy’s only active duty cargo handling battalion. They are a rapidly deployable unit of the Navy Expeditionary Combat Command, capable of loading and discharging ships and aircraft in all-climatic and threat conditions.