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Navy Deploying Key Capabilities to Support Humanitarian Aid to Gaza

The Navy is deploying key logistics capabilities in support of the Army-led mission to establish a temporary pier off the coast of Gaza to deliver critical humanitarian assistance, Navy officials said today.

Sailors stand at attention on a beach.
Group Photo
Sailors with Naval Beach Group 1 stand at attention for a group photo in honor of the 75th anniversary of the unit in San Diego, Calif., July 20, 2023. Sailors from the unit are deploying as part of a Joint Logistics Over-the-Shore mission to enable the flow of critical aid from the sea to civilians affected by the ongoing conflict in Gaza.
Photo By: Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Stevin Atkins
VIRIN: 230720-N-US228-1082Y

Sailors from Naval Beach Group 1 have been tasked with constructing a large floating dock known as a roll-on, roll-off discharge facility as part of the Joint Logistics Over-the-Shore, or JLOTS, mission being led by the Army's 7th Transportation Brigade from Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia. Naval Beach Group 1 is based at Naval Amphibious Base Coronado, California. 

The roll-on, roll-off discharge facility, which measures 72 feet wide by 270 feet long, will remain approximately three miles off Gaza's shore and enable cargo ships to offload aid shipments at sea prior to being transported to shore. 

Once offloaded, cargo will be transported to shore along an approximately 1,800-foot causeway comprising modular sections linked together, known as a Trident Pier, that will be constructed by the Army unit. 

The Navy will operate causeway ferries to transport the cargo from the discharge facility to the Army's floating pier.  

Soldiers handle lines aboard a military vessel.
USAV Monterrey
Soldiers with the 7th Transportation Brigade (Expeditionary) ready the USAV Monterrey to deploy from Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va., March 12, 2024. Soldiers with the unit are deploying as part of a Joint Logistics Over-the-Shore mission to enable the flow of critical aid from the sea to civilians affected by the ongoing conflict in Gaza.
Photo By: Joseph Clark, DOD
VIRIN: 240308-D-WM747-1012Y

The two units undertaking the mission have trained extensively in delivering the capability in a variety of environments around the globe.  

Soldiers from the 7th Transportation Brigade and sailors with Naval Beach Group 1, worked together to deploy the discharge facility and causeway off the coast of Australia last summer in support of Exercise Talisman Sabre, a large-scale joint defense exercise involving Australia and the United States. 

"Our capabilities mesh well, and we have already coordinated at the tactical level how we will implement the movement of cargo," a Navy official said today. "This is a routine mission for us, and we're just falling in together in step to conduct this mission." 

Once operational, the temporary pier will be capable of delivering up to 2,000,000 humanitarian aid meals per day. 

The Army unit began to mobilize less than two days after President Joe Biden called on the military to conduct the emergency operation during his State of the Union Address earlier this month.  

Last week four Army vessels set sail from Joint Base Langley-Eustis to join the operation: USAVs Monterrey, Matamoros, SP4 James A. Loux and Wilson Wharf. 

Navy officials said today that the forces and equipment used to construct the roll-on, roll-off discharge facility and provide sustained operational support will be transported into theater aboard three ships, the USNSs Roy P. Benevidez, 2nd Lt. John P. Bobo and 1st Lt. Baldomero Lopez. 

Once in theater, the sailors will begin construction of the floating dock from modular sections. The capability is expected to be operational in approximately 60 days.   

Service members in uniform and wearing hard hats stand near equipment on a ship.
7th Transportation Brigade
The U.S. Army's 7th Transportation Brigade (Expeditionary) loads supplies onto USNS Roy P. Benavidez, March 15, 2024.
Photo By: Ryan Carter, Navy
VIRIN: 240315-N-TF680-1005Y

Approximately 260 sailors are slated to deploy as part of the operation. Their skillsets range from ship handling and deck operations to construction and communications.  

Defense officials have stressed that there will be no U.S. boots on the ground in Gaza as part of the operation. 

In addition to deploying units to construct a temporary pier, the U.S. is conducting a sustained series of humanitarian assistance airdrops into Gaza.  

"The DOD humanitarian airdrops contribute to ongoing U.S. and partner-nation government efforts to alleviate human suffering," officials said in a statement today announcing the latest airdrop. "These airdrops are part of a sustained effort, and we continue to plan follow-on aerial deliveries."

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