SANTA RITA, Guam - Sailors assigned to Navy Cargo Handling Battalion (NCHB) 1, Detachment Guam, conducted a proof of concept lift on/lift off (LOLO) of a Mark VI patrol boat with Military Sealift Command (MSC) Maritime Prepositioning Force ship USNS 2nd LT John P. Bobo (T-AK 3008) in Apra Harbor, April 4.
During the evolution, NCHB 1 Sailors completed the first successful lift of a Mark VI patrol boat by U.S. Navy personnel, which served to demonstrate Commander Task Force (CTF) 75’s organic capability to LOLO a Mark VI patrol to a Military Sealift Command (MSC) vessel.
“The purpose of conducting the LOLO was to demonstrate the capability to lift a Mark VI patrol boat out of the water utilizing shipboard cranes onto a 2nd Lt. John P. Bobo-class vessel while at anchorage,” said Chief Warrant Officer 3 John A. Flick Jr., Commander Task Group 75.2, NCHB 1. “The next step is to identify an MSC vessel, preferably a Large, Medium-Speed Roll on/Roll off (LMSR) platform, that has weatherdeck space available to actually land a Mark VI onboard.”
Being able to perform a LOLO operation such as this will expand the current capabilities of the Navy’s Mark VI patrol boat program.
“This type of LOLO operation will provide U.S. 7th Fleet with the ability to push a Mark VI patrol boat forward to operate in areas outside of the Guam footprint,” said Flick. “In the event that Mark VI patrol boat operations are required outside of the Guam footprint they could be loaded onboard an MSC vessel, pushed forward to the desired location and offloaded where they can patrol a farther area of operation sooner than before.”
The LOLO evolution was a joint effort conducted by NCHB 1, Coastal Riverine Group (CRG) 1, MPSRON 3, and MSC personnel assigned to the Bobo.
“This evolution showed the value of two units being able to come together seamlessly to complete one mission,” said Chief Boatswain’s Mate Jason McNeely, NMCB 1 ship supervisor. “The communication between the two units, one being down in the water on a Mark VI patrol boat and the other being on the MSC ship, was the key to the successful completion of the evolution.”
With the success of the proof of concept, the next step is to take the lessons learned from this first endeavor and apply them to the next time to become even more efficient in this process.
NHCB 1 is a rapidly deployable unit of the Navy Expeditionary Combat Command, who support U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations, and are capable of loading and discharging ships and aircraft in all-climatic and threat conditions.
Since Navy Expeditionary Forces Command Pacific’s (CTF 75) creation in January 2015, expeditionary forces in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) region have become completely integrated into the seventh fleet combat readiness scheme and have built and maintained multinational partnerships that have been providing regional stability and security for more than seventy years.
As an organization, CTF 75 executes operational command and control of assigned and attached Navy Expeditionary Combat Forces in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations and serves as the core Navy battle staff for crisis response and major combat operations. They plan and execute coastal riverine, explosive ordnance disposal, diving operations, construction and Navy expeditionary logistics operations.
CTF 75 is capable of providing the fleet diverse warfighting capabilities such as coastal riverine support, explosive ordnance disposal, diving, salvage and construction capabilities, as well as expeditionary intelligence and logistics in near-shore waters, littoral regions and inland areas.