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USTRANSCOM completes JLOTS '07 in Guatemala

SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. (USTCNS) --- United States Transportation Command (USTRANSCOM) completed, in March, a two-month-long joint logistics over-the-shore (JLOTS) '07 exercise in Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala. The JLOTS '07 was combined with United States Southern Command's New Horizons exercise for Guatemala and Belize as part of the Joint Exercise Program.

"JLOTS '07 exercised our ability to transport equipment and sustainment over-the-shore from strategic sealift ships into an austere port," said Army Lt. Col. Keith Robbins, of the USTRANSCOM Intermodal Team, "via Army and Navy watercraft over a bare beach and a floating causeway pier."

According to Robbins this was the first operational use of the Navy's Improved Navy Lighterage System (INLS). "This improved system is a floating dock which comes in sections and locks together to form longer causeways or barge ferries," Robbins said. "Powered sections work like tugs to move the causeway ferry back and forth between ships and the shore.

"INLS is more robust and durable than the traditional Navy lighterage [a small craft designed to transport cargo or personnel from ship to shore] and can operate in heavier seas," Robbins continued. "It has a ramp module so it can stab the beach like a landing craft, allowing cargo to be taken off over a bare beach, or it can link to another causeway or pier."

Robbins said the exercise was "a tremendous success in that it offered members of the task force an excellent training ground for practicing skills, techniques, and procedures for planning, coordinating and executing a very complex JLOTS mission.

"The lessons learned validated much of the training regimen in use today," Robbins continued, "but also highlighted some areas for further discussion and review with regard to emerging concepts and doctrine for over-the-shore operations."

During the exercise more than 1,000 sailors, soldiers, and civilians from the Navy's Naval Beach Group One, the Army's 6th Transportation Battalion, Military Sealift Command (MSC), Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command, the Maritime Administration (MARAD), and various Active and Reserve Army and Navy units joined with a heavy lift ship (Cape Mohican) and crane ship (Flickertail State) from MARAD's Ready Reserve Force (RRF) and a LMSR (Soderman) from MSC to achieve the following JLOTS objectives:
• Training Army and Navy personnel in JLOTS operations
• Establishing and operating a base camp
• Deploying and establishing a joint forces headquarters
• Conducting in-stream JLOTS operations over bare beach environments
• Operating Army and Navy Roll-on/Roll-off Discharge Facility platforms and validating inter-operability of Army and Navy lighterage.

"Having the opportunity to deploy to a foreign country, establish operations and perform the mission is a fantastic training event for these units," Robbins said. "It trains on the entire deployment process as well as all the aspects of JLOTS operations and host nation coordination."

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