News: Joint Logistics Over the Shore: Soldier-sailors integrate into Alaska Shield 2014
Story by Ryan Swanson
ANCHORAGE, Alaska - A military tugboat was one of many items lifted off a U.S. Navy cargo ship at the Port of Anchorage Thursday, March 27. The tug will be used to help establish a Joint Logistics Over The Shore operation to move military and disaster relief supplies into the area.
The ship’s arrival is one of many activities at the Port of Anchorage and throughout the region underway as part of Alaska Shield, a large disaster response exercise run by the State of Alaska in partnership with Federal, Local and military partners.
"What you saw was the offload on one United States Army small tug off the USNS Mendonca, " said 1st Lt. Eric Heinemann, executive officer for the 331st Transportation Company, (Modular Causeway) 7th Transportation Brigade (Expeditionary), at Fort Eustis, Va. The 7th Brigade is responsible for reestablishing the port and managing the flow of supplies and equipment to the relief efforts in the exercise.
The scenario for Alaska Shield is modeled after the 1964 earthquake and resulting tsunamis that devastated Anchorage and surrounding areas. This portion of the exercise simulates that the Port of Anchorage is severely damaged requiring the assistance of military equipment and personnel to reestablish critical capabilities including fuel transport and storage, establishing temporary piers, and unloading cargo from large ships anchored in the harbor onto smaller vessels that can come closer to shore.
"If this pier is not accessible to a deep tract vessel, due to the earthquake shifting the ocean floor up, we can discharge cargo offshore and have a smaller draft vessel such as the Landing Support Vessel come to the pier instead and offload supplies," said Heinemann.
The exercise is scheduled to continue through early April and involves more than 7,000 soldiers, sailors, airman, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen.