JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C. –
The U.S. Naval Ship Red Cloud departed Joint Base Charleston, S.C. - Weapons Station, April 19, 2016, after being loaded with supplies and equipment by the Army Strategic Logistics Activity Charleston and the 841st Transportation Battalion.
The ship, which is part of Army Prepositioned Stock - 3, belongs to the Military Sealift Command, a subset of the U.S. Navy. USNS Red Cloud is on its way to an undisclosed location in the Pacific Ocean. A prepositioned ship can remain at sea for more than 6 months before returning to port.
While pierside at JB Charleston - WS, over 1,300 pieces of equipment were loaded onto the 950-foot long, "floating warehouse," with six interior decks. The ship's unique feature is a platform which allows the transfer of equipment to other Navy vessels.
"The equipment aboard the Red Cloud can be unloaded in a snap when needed," said Phil Crisfield, 3rd mate aboard the Red Cloud. "We carry everything from HUMVEEs to ambulances, munitions, tanks amphibious vehicles and generators. The cargo aboard is everything you need to build a city or destroy one."
According to the ship's captain, Navy Lt. Cmdr. (Ret) Don Agold, the Red Cloud was named after Mitchell Red Cloud Jr., a Medal of Honor recipient for his actions during the Korean War.
The ship provides equipment to the war front in a timely and safe manner.
"We are enablers who provide service members with the equipment necessary to perform their duties anywhere around the world," Agold said. "Much like airlift provides an avenue for service members to fly to a forward deployed area in a hurry, prepositioned ships provide heavy cargo and equipment when needed quickly."
Every 18 months, ASLAC and the 841st conduct similar vessel operations. When a prepositioned vessel returns to port, the upkeep and renovation process of the equipment aboard the ship is led by ASLAC and may take up to 120-days.
Once all maintenance functions are performed, the equipment is staged, processed and configured for upload and transport.
Army Lt. Col. Dennis Major, 841st Transportation Battalion commander, said, "Prior to being loaded members of the ASLAC movement section along with 841st Terminal Operations personnel collaborate to ensure all cargo is properly manifested and earmarked for a particular location on the vessel."
All units involved ensure USNS Red Cloud is properly loaded and ready for sea.
"Our efforts are essential for ensuring the U.S. Army is properly postured to fight and win the nation's wars in support of our multiple geographic combatant commanders," Major said. "All-in-all, every agency involved must work as a finely tuned system to ensure combatant commanders are properly equipped to deter aggressive actions or fight and win the nation's wars."