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NEWS | Sept. 13, 2017

Soldiers return from 270 days at sea

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

A redeployment ceremony was held for U.S. Army Soldiers assigned to the 97th Transportation Company, 10th Trans. Battalion, 7th Trans. Brigade (Expeditionary) at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va., Sept. 9, 2017.

The company returned from a deployment to Okinawa, Japan in support of Pacific Utilities and Logistics Support Enablers – Watercraft, also known as PULSE-W. Working alongside the 10th Regional Support Group, the landing craft utility ship’s crew transported ammunition, cargo and military vehicles to sustain exercises such as Cobra Gold in Thailand and Balikitan in the Philippines.

During the 270-day operation, the 97th Trans. Co. Soldiers worked closely with the host country to assist in the exercise enhancing the relationships with our Japanese counterparts.

“We were working together with those countries; we were not just out there on our own,” said U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer 2 Andrew Harrison, 97th Trans. Co., 10th Trans. Btn., 7th Trans. Bde. (Ex.) chief engineer. “Our team supported humanitarian and joint missions with the Japanese military showing our LCUs bring a unique capability to the fight.”

During their deployment, the crew sailed 2,234 nautical miles, transported 223 pieces of equipment, were underway for 140 days and visited 6 countries.

Upon their return from Okinawa, U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer 2 Brandton Rohde, 97th Trans. Co., 10th Trans. Btn., 7th Trans. Bde. (Ex.) vessel master, praised his team for their continuous efforts throughout the mission.

“I’m very proud of the crew,” said Rohde. “The accomplishments of this crew are a direct reflection of the NCOs and soldiers that were there. Not one person can be responsible for that vessel’s successful mission. It’s a total team effort. They did a great job.”

After the ceremony, the Soldiers were welcomed home by their family and friends.

Although Harrison talked about kicking up his feet and relaxing, he said he was also ready for the next mission.

“This is the only active duty heavy boat transportation in the U.S. Army,” said Harrison. “We support global operations. As a company of 168 soldiers, we are busy year-round.”

Although always ready to deploy, Harrison noted he was excited to be back at JBLE and happy to see his family.