Navy Plays Key Role in CJLOTS 2015 Combined Weather Team

by Staff Sgt. Christopher Perkey and Capt. Agneta Murnan, CJLOTS 2015 Public Affairs
U.S. Navy

ANMYEON BEACH, Republic of Korea (NNS) -- The Navy played a key role in a combined weather team which helped to overcome the challenges of extreme tidal fluctuations on the west coast of South Korea during the Combined Joint Logistics Over-the-Shore (CJLOTS) 2015 exercise June 29 to July 9.

At Anmyeon, the tide can vary up to 8 meters (29 feet), but wave heights, tide schedules, sea states, ocean currents, changing beach shape, wind speeds and visibility all factored into U.S.-Republic of Korea (ROK) decision-making about the safe and efficient movement of cargo from the sea to the shore.

Around the clock, a team of U.S. and ROK meteorologists and oceanographers (METOC) worked through data and weather model analysis to inform the decisions of commanders and harbor masters, directing the complex flow of amphibious cargo movements.

Because ROK and U.S. forecasters use different models, it was important to collaborate in order to achieve consensus on predictions about the sea and sky conditions.

"One team, one forecast," said Lt. Cmdr. Gon, the Expeditionary Strike Group 3 METOC detachment officer in charge.

More than 40 vessels had to maneuver safely in the sea area. Vehicles, cargo and service members were in constant motion ashore.

"I considered every phase of the exercise for safety," said ROK Senior Chief Petty Officer Lee, Soon Hwa, the ROK Navy's lead weather instructor for its education command. "I had to think about the operations to advise go, or no-go, decisions."

The CJLOTS 2015 exercise tested both ROK and U.S. pipelines, ROK amphibious cargo deliveries and the establishment of a temporary 560 meter (1,840 foot pier) Trident Pier.

Because operational and weather information were so interrelated, both the METOC and the harbor masters controlling movements were located together on the beach.

Air Force Staff Sgt. Anthony Chavis, a battlefield weather forecaster for the 18th Weather Squadron at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, said he stepped in as staff weather officer to provide real time data to the harbormasters next-door.

"If you don't have a weather person here that is experienced at analyzing the situation as far as the weather perspective, you may not have the lead time for the person in charge to make a timely and informed decision to protect their assets in bad weather," said Chavis.

"The implemented Air Force staff weather officers are absolutely vital to the operations that we do here," said Army Chief Warrant Officer 3 Clinton M. Smith, commander of the 545th Harbor Master Detachment, at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii. "They give us the weather forecast anywhere from 24 hours to a week of information at a time, to make the decisions that made CJLOTS 2015 successful."

Some vessels and equipment needed to be moved in low tide conditions, some at high tide. The tides might move sand mass to the pier or away from it. Given the complexity of operations, Lee said he knew that the combined team's work was essential to the exercise's success.

"This is my third time for CJLOTS," said Lee. "This was the best for me because I did my job successfully, and the exercise was successful."

Logistics Over-the-Shore (LOTS) operations are military activities that include offshore loading and unloading of ships when fixed port facilities are unavailable or denied due to enemy activities. LOTS operations are conducted over unimproved shorelines, through fixed ports not accessible to deep draft shipping, and through fixed ports that are otherwise inadequate without the use of LOTS capabilities.

"This Combined Joint Logistics Over-the-Shore exercise conducted by the ROK and U.S. forces is significant in the sense that it was the first successfully conducted exercise in the west sea overcoming operational difficulties and limitations," said Republic of Korea Navy Rear Adm. Park, Ki Kyung, Flotilla 5 commander.

More than 1,700 total personnel took part in the CJLOTS 2015 exercise with approximately 900 U.S. and 800 ROK personnel participating in the event. The exercise, which took place June 29 through July 9 at the Anmyeon Beach on the west coast of the Republic of Korea, demonstrated the ROK and U.S. ability to transfer solid and liquid cargo from the sea to the shore and is designed to improve logistics interoperability, communication and cooperation between the U.S. and South Korea.

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