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NEWS | Dec. 18, 2014

Pacific's harbormaster, watercraft Soldiers ensure readiness, synchronization

By 8th Theater Sustainment Command Public Affairs

KAWAIHAE PORT, Hawaii - The many ports, beach heads and other water terminals throughout the massive, Island-filled Pacific region are busy places. But "busy" doesn't do justice to their traffic during natural disasters or other contingency operation situations. When watercraft are quickly moving in and out delivering cargo, managing that traffic is a critical part of safety and mission success.

That's precisely the mission of the 545th Harbormaster Detachment troops who are prepared to rapidly deploy from their home-station at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, to ports, both improved and unimproved, and other water terminals throughout the region to provide Command and Control for approaching vessels as they off-load material and supplies.

It's a mission that demands a high-level of readiness and synchronization that the unit achieves through joint and interagency field training exercises like the one it led, Dec. 1-8, at the port of Kawaihae on Hawaii's Big Island.

The harbormaster detachment is part of the 545th Transportation Company, which also contains other transportation detachments with watercraft operators who crew the 8th Theater Sustainment Command's logistic support vessels.

"As a proof of principle, the harbormaster detachment deployed to the port, set up the Harbormaster Command and Control Center (HCCC), and conducted harbormaster command and control as U.S. Army Vessel Lt. Gen. William B. Bunker (Logistic Support Vessel 4) conducted surface transportation missions for the Department of Public Works, 24th Marine Air Group, 25th Combat Aviation Brigade, and BAE," said Capt. Christopher Vesce, the 545th Transportation Company's commander. "With the HCCC's guidance the vessel was able to safely transport 120 pieces of cargo, totaling over 40,000 square feet of cargo space."

The HCCC is a deployable and tactically mobile system that provides Army logisticians the sensors and knowledge management tools to establish and maintain situational awareness and command and control of any harbor and/or littoral environment, said Chief Warrant Officer 3 Clint Smith, the detachment commander.

Vesce said, "This was a great event for both the LSV-4 and Harbormaster troops. Seeing both elements working together in a field environment served as a great experience and will help pave the way for watercraft training in Hawaii for years to come."

Chief Warrant Officer 4 Mike Lloyd, the vessel's skipper, agreed and said, "The Harbormaster Det. did an outstanding job tracking and communicating with us throughout the duration of the operation, definitely adding value to the companies readiness and overall mission posture."

The HCCC and the LSV-4 also participated in the world's largest international exercise, Rim of the Pacific 2014, earlier this year, playing major roles in surface/vertical lift, casualty evacuation and Logistics over the Shore operations.

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