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Navy Cargo Handlers Return from Deployment

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS050406-02
Release Date: 4/6/2005 9:04:00 AM

By Lt. Karin Burzynski, Naval Expeditionary Logistics Support Force Public Affairs

NORFOLK, Va. (NNS) -- Nearly 200 Navy Reservists mobilized by Naval Expeditionary Logistics Support Force (NAVELSF) returned to Norfolk April 2.

This was the third and final wave of Navy Reserve Cargo Handlers, who mobilized and deployed in August to Iraq and Kuwait in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The first two groups returned in late January and March.

The 500 members of the Navy Reserve that comprised Naval Expeditionary Logistics Support Force Forward Bravo provided cargo handling support in the largest logistics operation since World War II. Their demobilization is part of a scheduled force rotation. NAVELSF Forward Bravo personnel provided combat service support through logistics operations, which included port operations, fuel distribution, postal operations and air cargo missions.

During the seven-month deployment, Bravo's accomplishments included: loading and offloading more than 60 vessels at the port of Ash-Shuyaibah; handling more than 40,000 pieces of equipment on and off vessels; and managing more than 200,000 pieces from 120 vessels at the seaport marshalling yards.

NAVELSF Commander, Rear Adm. Hank Tomlin, greeted the Sailors upon their arrival and thanked them and their families for their service and sacrifice.

"The important work you all accomplished is crucial in this war against terror. Your ability to provide the warfighter with immediate, persistent combat support is vital to our success," Tomlin said.

Lt. Cmdr. Katherine Boyce, NAVELSF Forward Bravo assistant operations officer, said she is happy to be home but appreciated the opportunity to serve her country on active duty.

"The responsibility the Navy gave me and the confidence my leadership had in me was awesome," Boyce said. "The Navy, in general, gives junior officers a lot of responsibility - expects a lot - and gives us the opportunity to excel."

She chose to be a part of Navy Cargo because it is an operational and commissioned unit. Boyce, a native of Joliet, Ill., has been a member and trained for five years with NAVELSF's Navy Cargo Handling Battalion (NCHB) 7 in Great Lakes, Ill.

The majority of returning Sailors are from NAVELSF battalions from Phoenix, Ariz.; Orange, Texas; Great Lakes, Ill.; and Columbus, Ohio.

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