PERSIAN GULF --
Eight-hundred tons of machines and supplies and more than 350 Marines and Sailors left the amphibious dock landing ship USS Harpers Ferry (LSD 49) for Camp Buehring, Kuwait, Oct. 18-19.
The troops, who are assigned to Battalion Landing Team 1/4 and Combat Logistics Battalion 13, will conduct sustainment training during a one-month period. Members of 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) and Harpers Ferry’s Combat Cargo worked 20-hour days maneuvering, loading and unloading equipment and personnel from ship to shore for the first leg of their deployment.
“This is the biggest movement we’ve had since preparing for deployment,” said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Richard L. Pollard, CLB-13 embarkation officer. “Bringing all our vehicles, containers and supplies means we can practice utilizing our equipment and maintain readiness if we have to respond to any situations.”
The offload included Humvees, generators, tents, 7-ton trucks and amphibious assault vehicles. Although the offload was completed in two days, the planning and preparation for this movement began before the ship dropped anchor off coast.
“We prepare two weeks out with inspections and maintenance,” said Sgt. Jesse J. Neikir, radio operator for AAV Platoon, Bravo Company, BLT 1/4, 13th MEU. “That way we have enough time to make repairs in time for launch.”
From the pre-dawn hours to late in the evening, Marines and Sailors positioned equipment to load landing craft utility vessels for transport ashore.
“There was a lot of coordinating between the blue-side [Navy] and green-side [Marines],” said Sgt. Eddie Mendoza, Combat Cargo, USS Harpers Ferry. “We’ve done load planning, balancing of cargo and a bunch of other tasks and we’ve done it all safely. The Navy has been a tremendous help especially with operating the forklifts around the clock.”
The 13th MEU is deployed with the Boxer Amphibious Ready Group as a theater reserve and crisis response force throughout the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility.