Tuesday, January 19, 2010

BMU 2, ACB 2 Team Up for Operation Unified Response

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class (SW/AW) Edward S. Kessler, Navy Public Affairs Support Element East

USS FORT MCHENRY, At Sea (NNS) -- Beach Master Unit (BMU) 2 and Amphibious Construction Battalion (ACB) 2 teamed up on board the amphibious dock landing ship USS Fort McHenry (LSD 43), currently in transit to Haiti to provide humanitarian assistance in support of Operation Unified Response, Jan. 18.

As a part of their mission package of landing craft and assault vehicles, a vital component to the success of the beach masters is the bulldozer that is attached to BMU 2.

"We use them on cruise for anti-broaching lines for our craft and pushing the craft off the beach when they have heavy loads on them such as tanks," said Chief Warrant Officer Timmy Baker, officer-in-charge of BMU 2. "Once we hit the beach, it is going to be more of the same thing, but we will use that dozer to help clear and level."

This is not the first time the beach masters have been called upon for a disaster relief mission. BMU 2 has been on the forefront of both Hurricane Katrina relief efforts and the aftermath of 2008's Hurricane Gustav, which also hit Haiti.

"This is something that we also do," said Baker. "My team is anxious to get out there and do what they can and help with the process of moving aide."

With the bulldozer playing such an integral part in getting supplies ashore, keeping the vehicle running is the job of Construction Mechanic 2nd Class Carol Young of ACB 2, who was sent on temporary active duty to BMU 2 to maintain the team's bulldozer.

"I make sure my dozer is ready to go for what ever we need it for," said Young. "Normally we do elevated causeways, which is basically a portable pier wherever we set it up."

For many Sailors such as Young, this disaster relief mission is a first, and it demonstrates the diversity of missions that many find themselves in as a part of today's Navy.

Sea-based amphibious ready forces bring added capabilities to aid the relief efforts without taxing the already strained infrastructure ashore. The Fort McHenry team includes the ship's crew, members of the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit, ACU 2, BMU 2 and Maritime Expeditionary Security Squadrons 6 and 4. The group's equipment is comprised of heavy-lift and utility helicopters, trucks and humvees, assault amphibian vehicles and logistics capabilities, to include water purification and limited medical support to further enhance the humanitarian relief efforts ashore.