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Navy Partners with Army to Build a Landing Beach

Assault Craft Unit TWO (ACU2) and the Eleventh Transportation Battalion conducted a Joint Logistics Over-the-Shore (JLOTS) tactical exercise on March 20 and 21 at Fort Story that provided some key training opportunities. 

One was to practice operating the Landing Craft Mechanized (LCM) boats near the beach. 

Another involved learning to drive the Load Handling System (LHS) tactical trucks in the sand, and getting the vehicle unstuck a few times.

ACU2 Commanding Officer, Cmdr. John Hoy said the focus of the exercise was to increase cohesion between the Army and Navy. Hoy said with differing priorities, communicating intent became paramount. The Army, for example, prioritized keeping the bilges dry on the LHS. The Navy prioritized monitoring tidal depth. That diminishing tidal depth became a challenge when loading the LCM with vehicles and controlling weight distribution. Hoy said with a few more similar training evolutions, this will become a seamless operation.

Those tactics ranged from setting up an armed perimeter, grounding the LCM to the sandbar, and expeditious deployment of vehicles over the shore. One such vehicle was the bulldozer, which helped free a few LHS trucks from the sand. The bulldozer was the one vehicle both branches praised for its unrivaled versatility, having also pushed an LCM off a sandbar. This was particularly noteworthy as ACU2 recently took possession of the bulldozers from Amphibious Construction Battalion TWO (ACB2).

On March 21, Commanding General of the XVIII Airborne and Fort Bragg, Lt. Gen. Christopher Donahue, boarded a Modular Causeway System ferry from the beach and was given a brief on that day’s amphibious operations. Upon his return to shore, he presented challenge coins to three deserving soldiers. In a show of solidarity, he also requested a group photo with the Navy.