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Army Divers Inspect Fort Eustis Port Facility

June 22, 2017 | BY Air Force Airman 1st Class Kaylee Dubois, 633rd Air Base Wing
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Army deep-sea divers assigned to the 74th Engineer Dive Detachment sharpened their underwater skills during a June 20 mission at the unit’s base at Joint Base Langley-Eustis here.

U.S. Army Pfc. Kyle Grimes, 74th Engineer Dive Detachment, 92nd Engineer Battalion second class diver, jumps into the James River to inspect Third Port’s piers during a diving mission at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va., June 20, 2017. To prevent massive reconstruction projects to occur in the future, the divers look closely for any damage or irregularities they can easily fix while inspecting the piers. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Kaylee Dubois)
Army Pfc. Kyle Grimes, 74th Engineer Dive Detachment, 92nd Engineer Battalion second class diver, jumps into the James River to inspect Third Port’s piers during a diving mission at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va., June 20, 2017. To prevent massive reconstruction projects to occur in the future, the divers look closely for any damage or irregularities they can easily fix while inspecting the piers. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kaylee Dubois
U.S. Army Pfc. Kyle Grimes, 74th Engineer Dive Detachment, 92nd Engineer Battalion second class diver, jumps into the James River to inspect Third Port’s piers during a diving mission at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va., June 20, 2017. To prevent massive reconstruction projects to occur in the future, the divers look closely for any damage or irregularities they can easily fix while inspecting the piers. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Kaylee Dubois)
Army divers inspect Third Port to ensure mission readiness
Army Pfc. Kyle Grimes, 74th Engineer Dive Detachment, 92nd Engineer Battalion second class diver, jumps into the James River to inspect Third Port’s piers during a diving mission at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va., June 20, 2017. To prevent massive reconstruction projects to occur in the future, the divers look closely for any damage or irregularities they can easily fix while inspecting the piers. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kaylee Dubois
Photo By: Airman 1st Class Kaylee Dubois
VIRIN: 170620-F-AR942-009

The detachment, assigned to the 92nd Engineer Battalion, inspected the piers at Third Port located on Fort Eustis to determine if repairs were required to keep the port operational.

“Third Port is the Army’s main vessel East Coast port,” said Army 1st Lt. Nate Cardinal, 74th Engineer. Dive Detachment, 92nd Engineer Battalion executive officer. “Third Port [staff] suspect there may be some erosion from beneath the piers. This could potentially weaken the structurally integrity and make it unsafe for heavy equipment and people to be working on the piers.”

Inspecting the Pier

As the soldiers swam down, taking turns inspecting each part of the pier, the divers kept an eye out for any damage or irregularities that could cause catastrophic failure or massive reconstruction from occurring at the port in the future.

By performing these inspections and repairing minor damage, the dive detachment ensures the port is in working condition.

According to Army Capt. Barrett LeHardy, 74th Engineer Dive Detachment, 92nd Engineer Battalion commander, without an operational port, Fort Eustis’ ability to transport cargo along the coast would be severely crippled.

U.S. Army Pfc. Samuel Ladd, 74th Engineer Dive Detachment, 92nd Eng. Battalion second class diver, calls out findings from an inspection of Third Port’s piers during a diving mission at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va., June 20, 2017. Along with scuba equipment, the divers have surface-supply diving equipment, which is used for dives that require constant communication with the team. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Kaylee Dubois)
Army Pfc. Samuel Ladd, 74th Engineer Dive Detachment, 92nd Engineer Battalion second class diver, calls out findings from an inspection of Third Port’s piers during a diving mission at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va., June 20, 2017. Along with scuba equipment, the divers have surface-supply diving equipment, which is used for dives that require constant communication with the team. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kaylee Dubois
U.S. Army Pfc. Samuel Ladd, 74th Engineer Dive Detachment, 92nd Eng. Battalion second class diver, calls out findings from an inspection of Third Port’s piers during a diving mission at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va., June 20, 2017. Along with scuba equipment, the divers have surface-supply diving equipment, which is used for dives that require constant communication with the team. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Kaylee Dubois)
Army divers inspect Third Port to ensure mission readiness
Army Pfc. Samuel Ladd, 74th Engineer Dive Detachment, 92nd Engineer Battalion second class diver, calls out findings from an inspection of Third Port’s piers during a diving mission at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va., June 20, 2017. Along with scuba equipment, the divers have surface-supply diving equipment, which is used for dives that require constant communication with the team. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kaylee Dubois
Photo By: Airman 1st Class Kaylee Dubois
VIRIN: 170620-F-AR942-049

“From a logistics standpoint, Third Port is conveniently located for transporting equipment, vehicles and cargo,” LeHardy said. “Without the port here, we would have to find a different port or transport cargo by land. Instead of bringing equipment directly to Fort Eustis, it would take much longer to transport cargo on land, especially through the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel and Monitor-Merrimac Memorial Bridge Tunnel, which are often heavily congested.”

Saving Taxpayer Dollars

Along with keeping the port afloat, Cardinal noted, that using the dive team to inspect the piers saves money rather than Third Port paying a contract company to do the same work.

If the watercraft operations were severely impacted, he said, readiness training for several units on the installation would also be negatively affected, as a wide variety of units, to include the dive teams, use the port for training exercises.

“It’s a good training area for us,” Cardinal said. “Training there affects our readiness at the unit level and allows us to be more prepared to go out and do our mission.”

With each splash into the James River, the dive detachment keeps Third Port functioning for all transportation needs and training.