ARABIAN GULF –
The 548th Transportation Detachment, a U.S. Army Reserve watercraft unit based out of Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii, participated in the U.S. Navy’s quarterly trilateral exercise in the Arabian Gulf, from July 24-26, 2017.
The trilateral exercise incorporated the U.S. Army, Navy, and Coast Guard, along with the Kuwaiti Navy and Coast Guard, and Iraqi Navy. The purpose of the exercise is to enhance inter-operability, mutual capability and support long-term regional cooperation of Coalition forces in the Arabian Gulf.
The 548th TD, currently assigned to the 371st Sustainment Brigade, 316th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), 1st Sustainment Command (Theater) Watercraft Task Force (WTF), played the role of a merchant vessel with their U.S. Army Logistics Support Vessel USAV “SP4 James A. Loux” (LSV-6). They were to be escorted by the USS “Vella Gulf” (CG-72), a U.S. Navy Ticonderoga-class cruiser, the USS “Squall“ (PC-7), the USS “Thunderbolt“ (PC-12), both U.S. Navy Cyclone-class patrol (coastal) ships, and the USCGC “Maui” (WPB-1304), a U.S. Coast Guard Island-class Cutter, along with an Iraqi Navy, Kuwaiti Navy, and Kuwaiti Coast Guard patrol boats.
“We acted as a High Value Unit (HVU) and were directed to stay in a defensive posture, while being protected by the Navy, Coast Guard and Coalition forces,” said Chief Warrant Officer 3 Bryan Miki, vessel master of the “SP4 James A. Loux” (LSV-6), 548th TD. “I hope we establish greater communication relations between all of the forces out here with this exercise.”
As a large, slow moving vessel, LSV-6 is vulnerable to smaller, agile boats that want to steal their goods and needs protection while sailing in the Arabian Gulf. The events performed in the trilateral exercise were all aimed at protection of the Army vessel and consisted of search and rescue, ship boarding and defensive navigational tactics drills.
“As the spearhead of logistics, we allow the line units to get their material on time and enable the warfighter to fight another battle,” said Miki. “Nothing happens, until something moves.”
We performed in accordance with the Navy’s intent to let them hone their Tactics, Techniques and Procedures (TTPs), and I hope it bettered my crew for future missions in the U.S. Pacific Command (USPACOM), added Miki.
The trilateral exercise was developed to replace two other exercises that included the Kuwaiti and Iraqi Navies separately. This being only the second event, the first exercise was conducted in March. The intent of the exercise is to build inter-operability and mutual capability relationships in the region between partner nations in the Arabian Gulf.
“The trilateral engagement not only benefitted Coalition war ships by practicing their TTPs, but it provided Army mariners an opportunity to sail in tactical formations and sharpen their communication skills between multination forces,” said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Thomas Allen, 1st TSC Support Operations - Mobility Sea Warrant.