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Beach Master Unit 1, Assault Craft Unit 1 Team Up For On load

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS070710-04
Release Date: 7/10/2007 8:49:00 AM

From Destroyer Squadron 40 Public Affairs

USS PEARL HARBOR, At Sea (NNS) -- Beach Masters Unit (BMU) 1 and Assault Craft Unit (ACU) 1 completed a successful on-load of U.S. Marine vehicles, equipment, and personnel on the beach of Ancon, Peru, July 1.

BMU 1 is a specialized unit with expert knowledge of beach landing operations while ACU 1 transports cargo and personnel via Landing Craft Utility (LCU) to and from amphibious assault ships.

“We work closely with ACU 1 to coordinate all the different moving parts that make an on-load or off-load work in perfect order,” said Chief Boatswain’s Mate John Valentine, beach party commander.

LCU 1629 made an early morning exit from the well deck of USS Pearl Harbor (LSD 52) and transited to the designated landing zone. Upon hitting the beach, BMU personnel began establishing communications with Pearl Harbor and ACU 1, while others combed the beach for any potential safety hazards including sinkholes or sandbars in the shoal water surrounding the landing zone.

Once initial preparations were complete and the area surrounding the landing zone was deemed hazard-free, BMU and LCU crews worked to load 29 vehicles for embarkation aboard Pearl Harbor.

On an hourly basis, BMU 1’s Lighter Amphibious Resupply Cargo (LARC) conducted surf observations and maneuvering drills within the sea lanes to check wave heights and look for any hazards that may have been missed or may have drifted into the operating lanes due to the constant dynamics of the ocean.

“Drills keep us proficient on everything that we have to be aware of and keep our readiness at the highest possible level," said Quartermaster 3rd Class Bryce Terry, LARC commander. “Not only do we take preventative measures, but we also take preparatory measures in case the LCU or a LARC gets stuck. We need to be able to tow them out if necessary.”

As BMU 1 conducted drills and continued work on the beach, LCU 1629 was engaged in a stern gate marriage with Pearl Harbor.

A stern gate marriage entails the ramp of the LCU being lowered onto the ramp of the ship’s well deck, enabling the vehicles to simply drive off. This evolution eliminates the process of ballasting and de-ballasting the ship’s well deck, saving valuable time. Using a stern gate marriage allowed an evolution anticipated to take 12 hours to be completed in only six hours.

The team work between BMU 1 and ASU 1 continued until the last load of equipment and personnel was safely loaded back on board Pearl Harbor.

BMU 1, ACU 1 and Pearl Harbor are participating in Partnership of the Americas (POA) 2007 as part of Task Group 40.0 under the leadership of Capt. Randy Snyder, Commander Destroyer Squadron 40.

POA 2007 is a U.S. forces Southern Command deployment focusing on enhancing relationships with regional partner nations through a variety of exercises and event sat sea and ashore throughout South America and the Caribbean.

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