Story Number: NNS140829-03Release Date: 8/29/2014 4:41:00 AM
By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Lauren Booher, Navy Expeditionary Combat Command
VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (NNS) -- Sailors attached to Navy Expeditionary Combat Command (NECC) participated in a Defense Support of Civil Authorities (DSCA) load exercise (LOADEX) at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story Aug. 27.
The DSCA LOADEX is a "train like we fight" scenario that brought together NECC forces, Expeditionary Strike Group TWO (ESG 2), 2nd Marine Logistics Group, and the Fleet Weather Center. The exercise was designed to provide familiarization and training for amphibious landing operations related to DSCA and disaster response.
"We're prepared, if the request were to come from the Department of Defense, to provide support to civil authorities," said Rear Adm. Frank A. Morneau, commander, Navy Expeditionary Combat Command (COMNECC) and designated commander, Navy Lead element for DSCA. "We will be able to load our gear and provide support in a quick and decisive manner as we respond to the scene of a hurricane, natural disaster or any kind of man-made disaster which could occur."
During the exercise, equipment was loaded on and off USS Arlington (LPD 24), USS Whidbey Island (LSD 41), and supporting landing craft platforms, and transported to the shore using the Improved Navy Lighterage System (INLS). The INLS is a cargo transfer system in which sections lock together like building blocks to create a variety of floating structures. The INLS allows Navy ships to transport heavy equipment and cargo in order to provide aid to areas where moorings have been damaged or are unavailable.
"We have to determine what we want to stay on land when the ships go out and what we want to make sure is preserved in case what is left behind is damaged or inaccessible," said Lt. Cmdr. Torben Smith, exercise planning officer. "We are loading Marine Corps equipment, and our own equipment that can access channels, underwater clearance capability, and equipment to remove debris. We're getting a better idea of how our equipment fits onto the different ships and onto the INLS."
The DSCA LOADEX provided a perfect opportunity for military personnel to practice loading and unloading operations in a controlled environment so they can be ready for the real event when it happens.
"It's one thing to brainstorm it on paper, but to physically see the process is a hundred times better. It's a great way to see our capabilities," said Operations Specialist 1st Class Michael Diamond, mobility officer assigned to Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group 2.
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