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Opportune Lift Moves Vehicles to Mainland and Hawaii

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS070913-12
Release Date: 9/13/2007 5:24:00 PM

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Michael A. Lantron, Commander, Navy Region Hawaii

PEARL HARBOR (NNS) -- Commander, Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific’s (COMNAVSURFGRU MIDPAC) Supply Department with help from USS New Orleans (LPD 18) conducted Opportune Lift (OPLIFT) Sept. 10-13, a program in which military personnel stationed in the Oahu area have their personally owned vehicles (POVs) transported to and from the mainland.

The purpose of OPLIFT is to increase the quality of life for military personnel by shipping their POVs or boats at a cheaper price than the civilian sector by using Navy vessels as a transport.

“The cost to ship a car from Hawaii to the mainland, or vice versa, is at the least $1,100, but the most we would charge is $60 for crane service,” said Storekeeper 1st Class (SW/AW/SS) Brian Brown, COMNAVSURFGRU MIDPAC supply leading petty officer and OPLIFT coordinator.

When transferring, the Navy allows Sailors to move one POV free of charge, but when a family has more than one vehicle they would like to take with them to their next duty station, they must pay the cost for moving all other vehicles.

“Even if you are like me, a married E-6, it is still very expensive to move your car, and every time we get to do this, it’s a huge help to those who have second cars to get them off the island at little or no cost,” said Brown.

Prior to the global war on terrorism, OPLIFT was held monthly, but in the past three years, the program occurs only twice a year.

“Unfortunately, ships that used to help with the transfer, such as USS Boxer (LHD 4), come back with their ship full of gear from being in the Persian Gulf, so they can’t carry any POVs back to the mainland,” said Brown.

Because of the limited availability of ships, the wait to move a POV has increased substantially.

“Usually the wait is about nine months to a year, but it all depends on the ship and the person,” said Brown. “If a person is not ready to move their vehicle, they can pass, and we move them up on the list for the next ship.”

Brown adds that regardless of when you are scheduled to PCS, signing up for the program early increases the chance of having the vehicle moved when ready.

“The sooner you sign up, all you need to do is wait for a call-back from [COMNAVSURFGRU MIDPAC Supply] on where to drop off your vehicle,” said Brown.

According to Gina Roberts, COMNAVSURFGRU MIDPAC supply officer and OPLIFT manager, Opportune Lift is a chance for the entire command to come together and work as a team.

“Every time OPLIFT comes around, all of COMNAVSURFGRU MIDPAC comes together to help out,” said Roberts. “Without us, the program would not exist and people would not be able to move their vehicles.”

Roberts added that the program is helpful for Sailors during a stressful PCS move.

“This program increases the quality of life for Sailors on the island by giving them one less thing to pay for out of their own pocket during their move,” said Roberts.

Capt. Donald Hodge, chief of staff, COMNAVSURFGRU MIDPAC, said the service is a definite bonus for those who take advantage of it.

“With the current [Department of Defense]limit of shipping only one vehicle per set of government orders, OPLIFT provides our Navy families with an inexpensive way to get their second, or sometimes third, vehicle to CONUS. Shipping costs from Hawaii can run up to $1,000, so this is a wonderful quality-of-life initiative.”

Seventy-five cars were shipped to San Diego and 68 were transported to Hawaii during the four-day process, and Sailors from the Oahu area are pleased to know they have found an inexpensive and easy way to move their POVs to and from the mainland.

“It’s a good deal if you have the patience,” said Lt. j.g. Michael Yeager, stationed at Marine Corps Base Hawaii. “To be able to send a POV back to the mainland without costing a lot is a great opportunity.”

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