Story and photo by Capt. Christopher Larsen
TACOMA, Wash. -- A group of Army Reserve senior leaders gathered at the Port of Tacoma's Pier 23 here Tuesday, Feb. 12, to receive briefings on the state of readiness of local Reserve units and facilities.
Maj. Gen. Luis Visot, deputy commanding general for operations, U.S. Army Reserve Command; Maj. Gen. Megan Tatu, commanding general of the 79th Sustainment Support Command, and Brig. Gen. I. Neal Black, commanding general of the 364th Expeditionary Sustainment Command, were at the pier specifically to get updates on the watercraft headquartered there.
Army watercraft, which provide critical logistics support to U.S. forces, have played an important role in operations over the past dozen years, Army officials said.
The Tacoma pier was once the home of the last floating machine shop in the Army inventory. That shop was struck from the rolls in 2010, but not before the valuable machine equipment was removed and installed in a land-based shop.
"Keeping the machinery here saved the Army millions of dollars," said Scott McKean, command executive officer of the 364th ESC.
The delegation visited the 175th, 467th, and 709th Transportation Companies at the pier. The units have a variety of watercraft in their inventories, ranging from small tugboats to a 115-ton floating crane.
On Feb. 12, the floating crane was in action, hosting joint training between the 175th and the 73rd Transportation Company, an active Army unit based at Fort Eustis, Va.
"This is a great training opportunity," said 1st Lt. Bryce Livingston, the 73rd's executive officer. "It's rare that we get a chance to get together with the Reserve side and share skills."
While touring the pier, the delegation received briefings on each type of watercraft and to hear about contributions made by the units stationed there, such as last summer's rescue of a civilian sailor whose boat was foundering in rough seas off the coast of California.
The generals got an up-close look at Landing Craft, Utility (LCU) 2025, the Malvern Hill, tied up alongside the pier. Chief Warrant Officer 2 Franky Caraska, one of the vesselmasters, led them on a guided tour through the 174-foor-long craft, even going into the engine room to describe progress on the boat's current overhaul.
In additional to the visiting generals, Pier 23 also hosted several staffers from Washington's congressional delegation.
Pat Chiarelli, from the office of Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), and Zach Guill from the office of Rep. Dave Reichert (R-Wash.) had the opportunity to sit down and talk with soldiers and Army civilians about the capabilities of the 364th ESC and its downtrace units.
Chiarelli is the son of recently retired Gen. Pete Chiarelli, the former Army vice chief of staff.
According to Army officials, the briefings were part of an ongoing series of presentations designed to raise awareness of the Army Reserve and its capabilities.