Saturday, April 28, 2007

Fort Lewis exploring Port of Grays Harbor to ship military equipment

Fort Lewis helicopters pay a visit to Port of Grays Harbor (Aberdeen) to explore viability for use in shipping military cargo. That's a bit closer to home for me, in fact Grays Harbor is just up the road a piece from where we live in neighboring Pacific County. Wonder what the residents in the area think about their port becoming a shipping route for military equipment?

I would imagine there will be those who welcome the commerce; those who are maritimers already and see it as a natural extension of Port activity; those who could use a job at the Port, even if it's a temporary job; those who have fundamental objections to the Iraq war; those who have loved ones in Iraq or going to Iraq and a belief the equipment is needed for troops use in Iraq should ship without interruption; those who have a premise that ports should not become 'militarized'; and then those who just don't really think much one way or the other about it.

I'm mindful of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) attempts to register as Labor against the Iraq war; March 2005; The local International Longshore and Warehouse Union will protest the war in Iraq and the deadly cuts it has forced by holding a stop-work meeting, shutting down all Bay Area ports on Saturday, the second anniversary of the Iraq war. It will then lead the labor contingent in the anti-war march in San Francisco under its banner, "An injury to one is an injury to all."

More locally though, in Washingon state, have been the Port Protesters who have staged protests at Port of Olympia in May 2006 - (see article Washington Post) , and Port of Tacoma last month, March 2007 (see article in Tacoma News Tribune). One has to wonder if next in the news will be a protest of Port of Grays Harbor (Port of Aberdeen)..stay tuned.

Article in the Aberdeen Daily World, Friday, April 27, 2007;

Why the choppers?

Friday, April 27, 2007 10:52 AM PDT

DAILY WORLD / LOUIE TRAUB Military personnel prepare a “Blackhawk” helicopter for take-off from the Port of Grays Harbor on Thursday. It was one of five choppers from the 4-6 Air Cavalry Squadron from Fort Lewis that landed at Terminal 4 near The Home Depot.
Five Army helicopters caused quite a stir as they descended from the drizzly sky and landed at the Port of Grays Harbor’s Terminal 4 near the Aberdeen Home Depot Thursday.

The choppers from Fort Lewis were on a training exercise and also came to inspect the Port facilities for possible future use in shipping military cargo.

The Port has no details on what might be shipped or when, according to its executive director, Gary Nelson. He said the military told him it wants to explore shipping options, and he directed the Port staff to begin making contingency plans.

Local law enforcement agencies have been working with the Port on possible security backup for Port personnel and are developing a response plan in the event military shipments draw anti-war protesters.

The helicopters — including OH-58 “Kiowa” light observation helicopter and a UH-60 “Blackhawk” combat assault chopper — were from the 4-6 Air Cavalry Squadron.

“They were conducting routine operations to prepare for future use of the Port,” said Catherine Caruso, a public affairs specialist at Fort Lewis. “For operational security reasons we don’t discuss future movements, locations or timelines.”

The helicopters were on the ground for about two hours and provided an opportunity for the Aberdeen Fire Department to get some hands-on training with equipment it rarely sees, Nelson said.

“The training was primarily focused on extrication techniques for pilot and crew members, in addition to orientation of fuel and power shutoff systems, as well as special firefighting precautions related to helicopters,” Fire Chief Dave Carlberg said.

DAILY WORLD / LOUIE TRAUB A “Kiowa” light observation chopper takes off on Thursday.

1 comment:

Tahoma Activist said...
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President George W. Bush's statement in March 2006 after 3 yrs of war "a future President will have to resolve war in Iraq"


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