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NEWS | Aug. 23, 2017

Oh buoy! Soldiers anchor vessel for hurricane season

By Airman 1st Class Kaylee Dubois 633rd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

The 7th Transportation Brigade (Expeditionary) conducted hurricane preparation exercises at Third Port at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Aug. 22, 2017.

With hurricane season on Virginia’s heels, Soldiers assigned to the 7th Trans. Bde. (Ex.) worked together towing and rigging a Landing Craft Utility vessel in preparation for severe weather that could impact Third Port’s 60 vessels.

“This towing system will allow the LCU to be safely towed and connected to an anchored buoy within the James River Reserve Fleet,” said U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer 3 Terry Lee Senn, 73rd Transportation Company, 10th Trans. Battalion, 7th Trans. Bde. (Ex.) tug vessel master. “Moving the LCUs from Third Port will also allow the installation to mitigate any damage to other vessels or pier structures inside the port due to severe storms in the area.”

Senn led the Soldiers through each phase of rigging the vessel out near the James River Reserve Fleet, helping to prepare them for possible weather situations, whether downrange or at home station.

“We like to live by the motto, ‘train as you would fight,’” said U.S. Army Capt. Kristen Bell, 10th Trans. Btn., 7th Trans. Bde. (Ex.) maritime operations officer. “We practice these operations to ensure the Soldiers are confident in their skills in case of real-world scenarios.”

Third Port offers a unique training environment due to the isolated areas around it. As a result, Soldiers can practice providing safe harbor for the watercraft fleet in a deep-water port, lessening the impact on the 40-acre pier complex.

According to Senn, training during calmer weather helps Soldiers master the skills needed to connect the vessel to the buoy. Creating more complex training situations allows Soldiers to practice completing the task through various environmental factors.

“By conducting these rehearsal exercises, we can validate the concept for the vessel evacuation plan,” said Senn. “We can also train our Soldiers to be able to work through any extreme weather that may impact JBLE.”

Through combined training efforts, the 7th Trans. Bde. (Ex.)  can ensure their resources, vessels and Soldiers are safely prepared for whatever weather Virginia may send their way.