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Sailors test the water with INLS at JLOTS exercise

CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. - Sailors assigned to Amphibious Construction Battalion Two had the opportunity to test the water with the Improved Navy Lighterage System during the Joint Logistics Over-The-Shore exercise, June 15 to 21.

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 increases interoperability and improves military readiness by alleviating situational sustainment issues.

The INLS played a large role in the JLOTS mission by acting as a floating pier, or causeway system, which comprising powered and non-powered floating platforms. It is used to transfer cargo from ship to shore areas where port facilities may be damaged, or nonexistent.

"The INLS is fairly new to ACB-2; we acquired the system only two years ago," said Master Chief Operations Specialist John Fedor, assigned to ACB-2. "It is vastly improved from the old Navy lighterage systems; it is a lot safer, more maneuverable, allows the crew to get out of the weather, provides better visibility for the craftmasters, and the overall system is a vast improvement of the previous system."

In addition, the new INLS is more operable in higher seas, has a longer service life and reduced maintenance costs. INLS consists of warping tugs, causeway ferries, roll-on/ roll-off discharge facilities and a floating causeway.

The INLS is made up of floating modules and barges that can be assembled into the four platforms: the RO/RO discharge facility, which supports the discharge ramp from the cargo ship and serves as a pier, the floating causeway, which supports the discharge ramp from the cargo ship and transfers rolling stock across undeveloped shoreline; the causeway ferry, which is used to transport cargo from ship to shore or to the causeway, and the warping tug, which is used for assembling, towing, anchoring, and salvaging operations.

"My particular craft is a warping tug, which acts as a salvage craft," said Petty Officer 1st Class Joni Custer, craftmaster assigned to ACB-2. "We do the roll-on roll-off discharge facility with the platform behind the seaward ship and take equipment back and forth to the shore to provide assistance to our troops."

JLOTS allows many sailors the opportunity to troubleshoot the system, perform maintenance on the equipment, and train in a new environment.

"We haven't experienced any problems that would be abnormal out to sea," Custer said. "There are moving sandbars and a bit of heavy seas throughout the days we have to work around, but that's what these craft are made to do"

"I have definitely gained a lot of knowledge as far as capabilities of the INLS are," said Chief Petty Officer Nathan Hosier. "I have gained knowledge in the crew's capabilities to operate in heavier sea states than they have in the past."

Hosier said the exercise has been excellent and the crew has had the opportunity to test their abilities for what they have trained for.

"My shipmates have been at their best," Hosier said. "They have shown everyone that they can take everything that is thrown at them; and have both shown their best sides during this whole operation."

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