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Navy Cargo Handling And Port Group (NAVCHAPGRU)

Navy Cargo Handling And Port Group (NAVCHAPGRU) is a rapid deployment expeditionary combat logistics support unit with the mission of providing technical and related individual training for all Navy Cargo Handling Force personnel and other DOD units on an as available basis.

Although the Navy's ground force requirements are relatively small in comparison to other Services, they still have land support and service capabilities identified in their overall force structure to support their own and United States Marine Corps (USMC) needs. For example, the Navy has one active cargo handling and port group and twelve-reserve cargo handling battalions in their inventory. These units were used extensively during the Desert Storm/Shield operations in support of Navy and USMC intransit and in-theater air and sea arrival requirements. The active unit, Navy Cargo Handling and Port Group (NAVCHAPGRU) provided offload support in-theater for the USMC Maritime Prepositioned Ships (MPS) (MPS2, MPS3 and Fleet Hospital). Upon completion of the MPS mission, a portion of the unit returned to its Continental United States (CONUS) homeport and then redeployed at a later date based upon workload surge requirements. Six reserve Navy Cargo Handling Battalions were mobilized and deployed to the SWA, NEA and US European Command (EUCOM) theaters.

The U.S. Navy Cargo Handling and Port Group (NAVCHAPGRU) at Cheatham Annex, Williamsburg, Va., is a rapid response, forward deployed operational logistics support unit and is the Navy's only active duty cargo handling group. NAVCHAPGRU is trained and equipped to load and unload Navy and Marine Corps cargo carried on board Maritime Prepositioning Force (MPF) ships, merchant breakbulk ships, container ships, military controlled aircraft, and to operate the associated expeditionary ocean cargo and air cargo terminals. NAVCHAPGRU is comprised of 10 officers, including four TAR officers and one Civilian Engineer Corps officer. There are approximately 240 enlisted personnel to include Seabees, boatswain's mates (aviation also), storekeepers, and other administrative and support personnel. NAVCHAPGRU is self-sustaining and is fully deployable to any region in the world as a command or in mission-tailored detachments.

NAVCHAPGRU was established on 1 December 1970. NAVCHAPGRU is an expeditionary logistics support unit of the operating forces of Commander, Combat Logistics Squadron Two. NAVCHAPGRU'S primary mission is to perform supervisory air and surface cargo handling and freight terminal operations in support of Unified and Component Commanders' requirements. NAVCHAPGRU is capable of providing independent mission tailored detachments, or fully deploying as a self sustaining unit anywhere in the world. At full strength, in support of an amphibious assault, NAVCHAPGRU can operate around the clock, simultaneously loading and discharging up to three general cargo ships. Operations can be conducted through an established port or utilizing lighterage during instream operations. NAVCHAPGRU'S versatility and unique capabilities have made it a critical asset in solving the challenge of expeditionary logistics support to the United States Navy and Marine Corps.

In 1991, NAVCHAPGRU deployed to the Arabian Gulf as part of Operations Desert Shield/Desert Storm. In 1992, NAVCHAPGRU deployed to Somalia in support of the United Nations' humanitarian mission, providing expeditionary logistics support to joint forces. Recent major operational deployments were in 1997-98 to Rota, Spain to offload the aground M/V BOBO and to the Arabian Gulf in Febuary 1998, in support of Operation Desert Thunder. The command has continued its participation in numerous Maritime Prepositioning Force operations and exercises throughout the world, as well as providing logistics support during the annual resupply of the National Science Foundation facility in Antarctica.

On 21 April 1998, NAVCHAPGRU consolidated with Naval Reserve Cargo Handling Training Battalion (NRCHTB), gaining an additional primary mission area as the trainer for the 3,000 active duty and reserve personnel of the Naval Expeditionary Logistics Support Force. Per four-year period, all 12 Naval Cargo Handling Battalions (NCHB) around the U.S. travel to Williamsburg for training and assessments by NAVCHAPGRU and NAVELSF staff.

NAVCHAPGRU's unique capabilities and flexibility placed them in key roles during several real-world contingency operations and training exercises during 2001. In all, NAVCHAPGRU provided over 13,000 man-days of cargo handling and expeditionary logistics support. Personnel deployed globally in support of all three Maritime Prepositioned Squadrons (MPSRONS), Marine Expeditionary Forces (MEF), both Naval Beach Groups, the MPF maintenance cycle, and the National Science Foundation. At Cheatham Annex, NAVCHAPGRU provided the crucial, intensive training and readiness assessments for 12 Navy Cargo Handling Battalions (NCHBs) and two other units that comprise the Navy Expeditionary Logistics Support Force (NAVELSF). The following paragraphs outline training specifics and operational highlights of 2001-02.

NAVCHAPGRU is tasked as the primary trainer and assessor of the Supply and Transportation Advanced Base Functional Components of the NAVELSF. This Reserve force represents over 95 percent of the Navy's ground logistics capability and includes more than 3,200 personnel. Every third year, these units travel to Cheatham Annex for the Training Availability (TAV) or Readiness Validation Evaluation (RVE). (See Colonial Capital article for details on NAVCHRPGRU training activities.)

In January and February 2001, 67 personnel deployed to Antarctica to offload and backload the ships M/V Arctic Sea and MV Green Wave. NAVCHAPGRU is the last command in the U.S. Navy to support the United States Antarctic Program as directed by the National Science Foundation (NSF). Dubbed Operation Deep Freeze, eight seven-person hatch teams offloaded more than 20 million pounds of cargo, to include 460 containers of food and supplies, over 40 vehicles, and various construction materials to build a new South Pole station. The severe environment created very difficult working conditions with temperatures ranging from 25F to -50F with windchill. During the backload, all waste and excess equipment, as well as scientific samples, were loaded on the two ships for transport to New Zealand and the United States. By utilizing NAVCHAPGRU's combat stevedores, more than $600,000 of civilian longshoremen labor costs were avoided over this very successful five-week deployment.

From April to June 2001, NAVCHAPGRU participated in Exercise Freedom Banner, the U.S. only exercise within Tandem Thrust. The purpose of this exercise was for a Marine Expeditionary Force (III MEF) and 7th Fleet to execute specific doctrinal elements of an actual MPF operation. Thirty-three personnel deployed to Australia and offloaded MV Lummus' full complement of lighterage, along with the discharge and regeneration of over 350 Marine Corps Principal End Items (PEIs).

From September to November 2001, 35 NAVCHAPGRU personnel were deployed to Egypt (Operation Brightstar). The purpose of this exercise was to partially download the MPF ships MV Hauge and MV Pless. The NAVCHAPGRU stevedores worked closely with Marine Corps and Army counterparts to ensure success of the operation. More than 400 pieces of Civil Engineer Support Equipment (CESE) and dozens of containers were offloaded well ahead of schedule.

In early October 2001 through August 2002, NAVCHAPGRU personnel were called to Diego Garcia for upload and backload of more than 20 million pounds of ammunition in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. The USNS Red Cloud, USNS Sissler, USNS Fisher, MV Matthiesen, and T-ACS Cornhusker State were among the ships that pulled into Diego for ammunition transfer.

From late October 2001 to early March 2002, 36 of NAVCHAPGRU's finest deployed to Bahrain and Fujairah in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Working hand in hand with the U.S. Air Force, NAVCHAPGRU handled more than 25,000 tons of mission-essential CASREPS, other repair parts and miscellaneous cargo for delivery to 65 afloat units in the Arabian Gulf and thousands of troops on the ground in Afghanistan and Pakistan. In addition, NAVCHAP-GRU personnel cleared more than five tons of backlog at the Fleet Mail Center to greatly enhance 20,000 deployed Sailors' quality of life. Working 12-hour shifts five or six days a week, NAVCHAPGRU personnel directly contributed to 5th Fleet's overwhelming logistical success over the critical first months of the war against terrorism.

In January 2002, a detachment of 23 personnel helped transport a fleet hospital field unit to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to set up Camp X-Ray in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. The team onloaded 67 fleet hospital metal containers and 64 public works vehicles aboard MV Pless in Jacksonville, Fla. The team completed their mission by offloading the items in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, on Jan. 16. Due to NAVCHAPGRU's diligent efforts, Camp X-Ray has been able to carry out its primary mission of housing the Afghan detainees.

Navy Cargo Handling Battalions (NCHB's) provide personnel and basic support equipment for establishing technical and supervisory CARGO HANDLING capability in support of worldwide Navy and Marine Corps operations: primarily United States Marine Corps (USMC) operations on board Maritime Prepositioned Ships (MPS). When provided appropriate equipment components, NCHBs can give Amphibious Assault Readiness Group ships and other types of ships cargo handling support, limited ocean terminal support and limited air cargo terminal support. As multi-mission capable "Combat Stevedores," these Battalions can be air lifted on a single C141 anywhere in the world to offload MPS, Fast Sealift Ship (FSS), Containerized or Break Bulk Cargo Ships. These units are expeditionary and self-sustaining. When augmented with appropriate equipment, these units can perform limited ocean and air terminal operations.

Maritime Prepositioned Ships, Assault Follow-On Echelon (AFOE) and other type ships provide cargo handling, command and control, and support personnel capable of loading/discharging (pierside or in-stream) all classes of cargo, including hazardous materials and munitions. Commercial or Military Sealift Command (MSC) controlled cargo ships associated with Maritime Prepositioning Ships (MPS) operations or Amphibious Assault Readiness Group Ships associated with an AFOE operation. Shipboard operations in a developed or undeveloped port including: Containers; Break bulk and vehicles; Heavy-lift pedestal or gantry cranes; Mobile hydraulic cranes; Yard and stay; and Jumbo booms.

Heavy Lift (MARINE) Crane Operations provide crane operators for support of MPS, container ships, fast sealift ships (FSS or T-AKR), auxiliary crane ships (T-ACS), and other specialized applications.

Expeditionary (Limited) Ocean Terminal Operations provides managerial, clerical, and cargo handling personnel to operating an expeditionary (limited) ocean terminal. Personnel can also operate an transit warehouse for processing cargo identified by Transportation Control Numbers (TCNs). Operating a terminal and/or a warehouse will result in a decreasein ship loading/discharge capabilities elsewhere, since terminal operations divert personnel from cargo handling operations. Capabilities include performing the functions for the documenting, control and handling of ship loading/discharging, pier operations, and delivery of material to/from a transit warehouse close to the pier.

Expeditionary (Limited) Air Cargo Terminal Operations provides managerial and cargo handling personnel capable of handling all classes of cargo, including munitions and hazardous materials, from civilian and military controlled aircraft and operating an expeditionary (limited) air cargo terminal. Operating an air terminal will result in a decrease in ship loading/discharge capabilities elsewhere, since air terminal operations divert personnel from cargo handling operations. Capabilities include performing the functions for documenting, control and handling of aircraft loading/discharging, cargo transport to/from a transit terminal near the airhead, and operation of the transit terminal for TCN identified cargo and containers.

NAVCHAPGRU conducts seven two-week courses of instruction at Williamsburg, Virginia. Course titles are Basic and Advanced Shipboard Cargo Handling, MPS Hagglund Crane, Basic Air Cargo, and Reserve Cargo Handling Supervisor, Transportation of Hazardous Materials Certification and Field Messing. FY 01 courses during a Training Availability / Operational Readiness Assessment (TAV/ORA) are not open to students with the exception of Reserve Cargo Handling Supervisor / Command and Control. Course descriptions and class convening dates can also be found in the Catalog of Navy Training Courses (CANTRAC).

NAVCHAPGRU conducts short course training during unit IDTTs, or TAV/ORA's at Williamsburg. Short courses include Perimeter Defense, Small Arms Familiarization, Chemical Biological Radiological Defense, Blocking and Bracing, Field Communications, Crane Refresher, Aircraft Approaches, Advance Air Cargo, Ammo Handling Safety, Explosive Forklift & Re-certification, Hazardous Driver & Re-certification, Tractor Trailer, Basic Forklift, Advanced Forklift and 5-15 Ton Cargo Truck Driving. Section (3) describes available short courses. Short courses are scheduled as requested. Additionally, almost all topics that comprise the seven two-week courses can be taught.

NAVCHAPGRU maintains a number of different types of vehicles and material handling equipment for training purposes. Ten classrooms are available for instruction. Of particular interest to aviation logistics units is the C-130A aircraft equipped with a working ramp, roller deck, with 463-L pallets and also our recently acquired CH-53 Helo.

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Page last modified: 05-07-2011 01:58:55 ZULU