BY LT. LANCE WESEN, SC, USN,
NAVY EXPEDITIONARY MEDICAL
Sasebo, Japan – Operation Trident Arch 2016 commenced on May 19 in Williamsburg, Virginia at Naval Weapons Station Yorktown, Cheatham Annex and is currently in its third phase of execution at U.S. Fleet Activities Sasebo. Trident Arch is a Navy Expeditionary Medical Support Command (NAVEXPMEDSUPCOM) mission that rotates deployable medical systems (DEPMEDs) to/from prepositioned storage sites worldwide, ashore and afloat. DEPMEDs are deployed globally to support wartime contingency plans and redeployed to be upgraded and repaired.
NAVEXPMEDSUPCOM staff members, aided by a detachment of 25 Sailors from the Navy Cargo Handling Battalion 13 (NCHB 13), were on the ground in Sasebo, Japan preparing for the arrival of the motor vessel (M/V) Green Bay.
The execution of Operation Trident Arch 2016 was a break from past missions. For the first time in the nearly 40-year history of AVEXPMEDSUPCOM, Operation Trident Arch 2016 integrated military and commercial resources to execute the deployment and retrograde of a prepositioned DEPMED. Past missions only included Department of Defense transportation resources to execute the Trident Arch mission.
“I have been associated with the Trident Arch mission for 17 years, and Operation Trident Arch 2016 is truly unique. Operation Trident Arch 2016 leveraged the flexibility and capability of the commercial transportation industry and will result in a huge cost savings to the U.S. taxpayer. Through this partnership, the U.S. government will save roughly three million dollars in transportation costs,” said NAVEXPMEDSUPCOM’s Transportation Officer Juan Virella-Rodriguez.
NAVEXPMEDSUPCOM’s commercial partners include Central Gulf Lines, Inc. and Matson Logistics, Inc. These companies were awarded contracts to fulfill the sealift and line-haul requirements needed to execute Operation Trident Arch 2016. Both companies have vast experience in transporting military cargo domestically and internationally. “We routinely transport military cargo to worldwide sites. My company has transported cargo for all the service branches. We take tremendous pride in supporting the warfighters,” said Central Gulf Lines, Inc. Vice President Bob Chambers.
Phase I of Operation Trident Arch 2016 involved the on-load of the DEPMED assets to tractor-trailers. With the assistance of 20 Sailors from the NCHB 1, 94 tractor-trailers, operated by Matson Logistics Inc., were loaded with 96 twenty-foot equivalent units and 143 units of civil engineering support equipment. The DEPMED assets were linehauled to Port Hueneme, California, a nearly 3,000-mile trek from Williamsburg, Virginia.
Phase II of Operation Trident Arch 2016 involved the on-load of the M/V Green Bay, a commercial vessel owned and operated by Central Gulf Lines, Inc. The on-load occurred at Port Hueneme, California on Naval Base Ventura County. This phase was executed strictly using commercial resources as 30 stevedores and 10 M/V Green Bay crewmen performed the on-load operations. The M/V Green Bay set sail on June 9 en route to Sasebo, Japan, where the DEPMED was pre-positioned.
“When I received word that the DEPMED would be deployed to Japan by a commercial transportation carrier, I had my concerns. I have been associated with the Trident Arch mission for 12 years and to line-haul an entire DEPMED 3,000 miles on 94 separate tractor-trailers seemed risky. However, my initial concerns were unfounded, and Phase I and II were a huge success” said Silas Moses, NAVEXPMEDSUPCOM’s Container Management subject matter expert.
When the M/V Green Bay arrived at its destination in Sasebo, the DEPMED assets were discharged from the vessel and the assets that were in theater were loaded to the M/V Green Bay. Fifty Japanese stevedores and 25 Sailors from NCHB 13 performed these cargo transferring functions. The re-deploying DEPMED was sealifted to Port Hueneme, California and line-hauled to Naval Weapons Station Yorktown-Cheatham Annex, where it will be overhauled–rotating assets through maintenance cycles, replacing expired shelf-life items and repairing damaged items.
Operation Trident Arch 2016 is led by NAVEXPMEDSUPCOM Logistics Department Head Lt. Lance J. Wesen and assisted by NAVEXPMEDSUPCOM subject matter experts Construction Mechanic Chief Petty Officer Michael Williams, Silas Moses, Juan Virella-Rodriguez, and Construction Electrician Petty Officer 1st Class Michael Perezdejesus.
The NAVEXPMEDSUPCOM command of military, civilian and contracted personnel design, procure, deploy/re-deploy, and sustain these DEPMEDs as part of the Expeditionary Medical Logistics Program. NAVEXPMEDSUPCOM is located in Williamsburg, Virginia at Naval Weapons Station Yorktown-Cheatham Annex.
Additional information about NAVEXPMEDSUPCOM is available at http://www.med.navy.mil/sites/nemscom/Pages/default.aspx