JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA –
The U.S. Naval Ship Sacagawea docked at the Joint Base Charleston-Weapons Station Sept. 4, 2016 to unload cargo before continuing to Jacksonville, Florida.
Multiple units offloaded more than 2,000 pallets of ordnance from the ship and transferred them to a storage facility on the JB Charleston-WS.
“There are a lot of entities at play,” said Navy Lt. David Alverson, the Navy Munitions Command Atlantic Unit Charleston executive officer. “Military Sealift Command supplied the ship itself. MSC is responsible for getting the ammo off the ship and onto the pier with their embarked cargo handling battalion. After it’s on the pier, Naval Munitions Command loaded the ordnance onto trucks taking it to the storage facility, called a magazine.”
Before arriving at the JB Charleston-WS, the Sacagawea was prepositioned with cargo to sustain a U.S. Marine Corps expeditionary brigade for up to 30 days. A detachment from U.S. Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia, oversaw the offload and collected data to plan future operations.
“My detachment’s role in this operation is largely in a quality assurance capacity,” said Chief Warrant Officer 3 Ronnie Henry, Detachment Charleston Marine Corps liaison officer. “We’re also facilitators, or coordinators, for the organizations supporting this operation. We are making sure all the ammunition being offloaded is safely stored so we can begin working a load plan for the backload planned for next year.”
After being offloaded from the ship, each pallet was processed before being stored in a magazine. The pallets were inspected and categorized as reusable or able to be refurbished. The munitions were then palletized to be maintained in Charleston’s inventory or sent to another base.
The cargo being maintained at another location will be reloaded onto the Sacagawea. According to Tom D'Agostino, Military Sealift Command Atlantic Representative-Charleston director of ship operations, cargo operations are scheduled to end by later this week.
“It is vital we all work together to ensure a successful offloading of dangerous cargo,” said Navy Lt. Charles Gatewood, 628th Logistics Readiness Squadron waterfront operations officer. “Our goal is to accomplish the mission. In this case, the mission is to bring in the Military Sealift Command Ship, moor it safely and then download the ammunition and cargo so the ship can receive critical maintenance and return to her station continuing her mission.”