Sunday, June 23, 2024

Coronado Sailors Deploying to Gaza to Provide Humanitarian Aid

Sailors with Naval Beach Group 1 stand at attention for a group photo in honor of the 75th anniversary of the unit in San Diego, Calif., July 20, 2023. Sailors from the unit are deploying as part of a Joint Logistics Over-the-Shore mission to enable the flow of critical aid from the sea to civilians affected by the ongoing conflict in Gaza. Photo: Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Stevin Atkins

Coronado sailors will deploy to Gaza to help construct a temporary pier capable of delivering up to 2,000,000 humanitarian aid meals per day.

The floating dock, known as a roll-on, roll-off discharge facility, will be built as a part of the Joint Logistics Over-the-Shore, or JLOTS, mission, which is led by the Army’s 7th Transportation Brigade from Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia.

Sailors  from Naval Beach Group 1, which is based at Naval Amphibious Base Coronado, will build the facility.

Approximately 260 sailors are slated to deploy as part of the operation, according to the Department of Defense, but it is still unclear how many of those are from Coronado. Their skills range from ship handling and deck operations to construction and communications.

The roll-on, roll-off discharge facility measures 72 feet wide by 270 feet long and will float approximately three miles off Gaza’s shore. Cargo ships will offload aid shipments at sea at the facility.

Once offloaded, cargo will be transported to shore along an approximately 1,800-foot causeway comprising modular sections linked together, known as a Trident Pier, that will be constructed by the Army unit.

The Navy will operate causeway ferries to transport the cargo from the discharge facility to the Army’s floating pier.

Soldiers from the 7th Transportation Brigade and sailors with Naval Beach Group 1 worked together to deploy the discharge facility and causeway off the coast of Australia last summer in support of Exercise Talisman Sabre, a large-scale joint defense exercise involving Australia and the United States.

The Army unit began to mobilize less than two days after President Joe Biden called on the military to conduct the emergency operation during his State of the Union Address earlier this month.

Earlier this month, four Army vessels set sail from Joint Base Langley-Eustis to join the operation: USAVs Monterrey, Matamoros, SP4 James A. Loux and Wilson Wharf.

Navy officials said last week that the forces and equipment used to construct the roll-on, roll-off discharge facility and provide sustained operational support will be transported into theater aboard three ships, the USNSs Roy P. Benevidez, 2nd Lt. John P. Bobo and 1st Lt. Baldomero Lopez.

Once in theater, the sailors will begin construction of the floating dock from modular sections. The capability is expected to be operational in approximately 60 days.

Defense officials have stressed that there will be no U.S. boots on the ground in Gaza as part of the operation.

Megan Kitt
Megan Kitt
Megan has worked as a reporter for more than 10 years, and her work in both print and digital journalism has been published in more than 25 publications worldwide. She is also an award-winning photographer. She holds BA degrees in journalism, English literature and creative writing and an MA degree in creative writing and literature. She believes a quality news publication's purpose is to strengthen a community through informative and connective reporting.Megan is also a mother of three and a Navy spouse. After living around the world both as a journalist and as a military spouse, she immediately fell in love with San Diego and Coronado for her family's long-term home.Have news to share? Send tips, story ideas or letters to the editor to: [email protected]

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