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Navy Cargo Handling Battalion 1 Sailors Train for Deep Freeze

Navy News Service

Story Number: NNS160108-18
Release Date: 1/8/2016 4:36:00 PM

By Chief Mass Communication Specialist Edward Kessler, NAVELSG Public Affairs

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. (NNS) -- Active and Reserve component Sailors assigned to Navy Cargo Handling Battalion 1 (NCHB 1) participated in a three-day refresher training at Naval Weapons Station, Cheatham Annex Jan. 6-8 in preparation for support of Operation Deep Freeze 2016 (ODF'16).

Fifty Sailors assigned to NCHB 1 and four reserve component Sailors from Navy Cargo Handling Battalion 8(NCHB 8) used Navy Expeditionary Logistics Support Group's (NAVESLG) land ship to become a more cohesive unit - critical while moving cargo in the austere environment they will find themselves in during support of the National Science Foundation-managed U.S. Antarctic Program.

The Sailors will deploy as part of ODF'16, the military logistical-support component of the Antarctic Program.

'Communication is a big part of pre-deployment training,' said Lt. David Shayeson, detachment officer in charge. 'This is a good time for us to exercise that, get it trained up to now versus figuring it out when we get down there.'

ODF is unlike any other U.S. military operation. It is one of the military's most difficult peacetime missions due to the harsh Antarctic environment. The U.S. military is uniquely equipped and trained to operate in such extreme climates. Although Virginia winters never compare to working in Antarctica, conducting pre-deployment training in January does help some.

Chief Equipment Operator Samuel Acosta is making his fifth trip in support of ODF, sharing his insight on the difference in cold weather work in Virginia versus Antarctica.

'It brings kind of a realism to it but it doesn't prepare us 100 percent for it, it just helps us to understand what it feels like to work in the cold, it's what the cargo handlers do, we just adapt and overcome it,' said Acosta.

Once on station, the Navy cargo handlers will meet the Military Sealift Command (MSC)-chartered container ship MV Ocean Giant to offload approximately 20 million pounds of fresh supplies to support the scientists and researchers living year-round in the brutal environment. The cargo handlers worked around the clock for 10 days in the continuous sunlight of the Antarctic summer.

Reserve Sailors have been a rich part of the U.S. Navy history, working and sacrificing alongside their active-duty counterparts accomplishing missions around the globe in varying conditions and climates. While this mission may not have all the comforts of home, Sailors both active and reserve jump at the chance to work 12-hour shifts in the harshest living conditions.

For Navy Cargo Handling Battalion 10 (NCHB 10) reserve component Sailor Equipment Operator 3rd Class Robert Newton and NCHB 8 reserve component Sailor Gunner's Mate 1st Class Daniel O'Pella, this will be their first time on the ice.

'It seemed interesting, an opportunity. I don't know too many people that can say they have been to Antarctica,' said Newton. O'Pella added 'this type of mission is one of the things that attracted me to the cargo community, when I heard that opportunities like this existed I was very excited to be a part of it.'

Upon completion of refresher training NCHB 1 and 8 Sailors will begin to make their final preparations for departure to Antarctica in support of the 61st mission of Operation Deep Freeze.

NAVELSG is homeported in Williamsburg, Va., with an active battalion located at Cheatham Annex; with forward-deployed detachments around the world and reserve battalions located across the United States. NAVELSG provides Sailors with the knowledge and skills needed to support the fleet in a variety of logistics missions. More than 100 Sailors and civilians at NAVELSG HQ work hand in hand with the fleet and are dedicated to ensuring training is current and well executed on behalf of 2,700 active duty and reserve Sailors in the administration, logistics and training of their active and reserve components'.

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