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Sailors excel during Joint Logistics Over-the-Shore

CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. - U.S. Naval Amphibious units are conducting operations in support of Joint-Logistics-Over-The-Shore exercise, on Camp LeJeune, June 15- 20.

Worldwide natural disasters affect the lives of many people. The sailors, soldiers and airmen who are called upon to respond and aid those people and places in need were able to practice their sea and shore operations relating to sustainment issues during this exercise.

JLOTS is a critical military capability that allows equipment and sustainment supplies to reach specific areas without the benefit of a fixed port facility. The exercise, involving Army, Navy and Air Force increases interoperability and improves military readiness by alleviating situational sustainment issues.

Several Navy commands play a vital part in this exercise by providing sea and shore support to Army counterparts. Naval Beach Group Two, Beach Master's Unit Two, Assault Craft Unit Two, Amphibious Construction Battalion Two, all stationed out of Virginia Beach, Va., and Amphibious Construction Battalion One, stationed out of San Diego, Calif., are working together to enhance the military's overall readiness in responding to natural disasters and other logistical sustainment issues.

"When a Navy ship deploys, it carries all of its initial sustainment with it," said commodore of NBG-2 Capt. Clayton Saunders. "However, when the Army and the Marines deploy and go ashore, that sustainment has to come over the water to them. So that sustainment is either going to go to them through a port, where a ship pulls in, or if there is no port available, it has to come over a bare beach."

Saunders said that in order to sustain the forces, service members need to maintain the use of the equipment that can move cargo from the ship to the shore. Sailors play an essential part to that mission.

"The units as part of NGB-2 bring that capability by one of our primary missions, which is logistics-over-the-shore," Saunders said. "The beach master unit provides beach master ability, beach salvage, and put up traffic lanes on an unapproved beach. ACU-2 has displacement craft, which are some of the primary assets we have to get equipment from the sea to the beach. The construction battalion is not only a means of getting equipment off the ship and on the beach, but they also provided the camp infrastructure as well as addition ship to shore support."

BMU-2's primary mission with JLOTS is to provide security and control traffic on the beach. These tasks are a major part of safety and operational effectiveness, and inadequate traffic control directly reflects upon the whole mission.

"That's what we are here for; to control the traffic on the beach, to get the equipment off loaded and on loaded safely as the need arises," said BMU-2 Beach Party Team Six commander, Chief Warrant Officer David Miller. "We are the only entity that exists in the armed forces that does beach control."

"Beach masters are very relevant to this exercise," said Petty Officer 2nd Class Greg Whiteside, boatswain's mate, assigned to BMU-2. "We are on the beach, landing the crafts, loading the cargo and rolling stock rolls right across our operating area."

Working on the shore side for JLOTS are Sailors from ACB-1 and ACB-2. They support water operations and camp support for more than 1,200 current residents participating in the exercise.

The real world mission of ACBs' is to take combat equipment off Military Sealift Command ships, bring them safely to the beach and turn it all over to the units on the ground. For JLOTS, they use a variety of water crafts to simulate a similar mission. They move equipment to and from the shore and ships to provide assistance to the troops who need it most.

"A typical day out here is much like being deployed overseas," said Master Chief John Fedor, master chief operations, assigned to ACB-2. "We have a lot of hard working Sailors and Soldiers out here that put in 15 to 20 hour days. It is really dynamic when you bring together all the different services. Everybody has a different way of doing things, yet we all come together and in the end the mission gets done."

Fedor said having an exercise of such a large scale is a rare opportunity and needs to be taken advantage of.

"What we are simulating here is support of civilian after a hurricane," Fedor said. "We are doing that with both Navy and Army craft. We also have port security unit here with us, we move supplies off the MSC ships and bring them across the beach, landing on the established pier, and also doing direct beach operations."

A unique aspect of JLOTS includes combining active duty Sailors with their reserve counterparts. According to Miller, the integration has been smooth, utilizing reserve components that are motivated and hit the ground running.

"The reserve team out here has done a phenomenal job," Miller said. "They left their civilian jobs, packed up, got all their gear together, drove down to North Carolina and hit the beach ready to operate the next day."

Since JLOTS runs longer than the two week training requirement for reservists the number of attached reserve Sailors fluctuates. The reservists have integrated with both boat units and camp support units.

Working alongside Soldiers is another distinctive facet of JLOTS. Many Sailors said they have found the joint environment to be very beneficial to the overall mission.

"Working with the Army has been fantastic," Miller said. "One of the things I have been extremely impressed with is the capability of the Army. They have done a splendid job getting the boats in and out, following directions, and operating independently."

In a real sustainment situation, Sailors and Soldiers will be operating together to enhance military logistics. A joint training environment is increasingly critical for future missions.

"So far we have been working with the Army, using their craft and routing them on and off the beach in an orderly process," Whiteside said. "It is important that we have this opportunity to see what each branch is doing and to cross-train during this exercise."

"We have had the opportunities to learn a bit more about the capabilities of the Army and our own abilities in this joint environment," said Petty Officer 1st Class Joni Custer, boatswain's mate, a craftmaster assigned to ACB-2. "I learned about the ability of the Navy and Army working together to perform a mission, offload the maritime ships and provide support to the combat troops ashore."

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