U.S. and Republic of Korea (ROK) forces successfully inserted a temporary 560 meter (1,840 feet) Trident Pier, established two temporary pipelines, and carried out numerous cargo transfers from sea-to-shore on the west coast of the ROK during the Combined/Joint Logistics Over-the-Shore (CJLOTS) 2015 exercise.
Approximately 1,700 personnel worked together to defeat the challenges of significant tidal fluctuations and changes in water levels, of up to eight vertical meters (29 feet), to safely accomplish the first successful connection of the floating pier on Korea’s west coast.
"Working in this environment, with the tidal surge over the mud flats, was extremely challenging, but I’m happy to report we succeeded. We did it," said U.S. Rear Adm. Daniel Fillion, Expeditionary Strike Group Three and joint task force commander. "And the men and women of the ROK military and the U.S. forces working as an alliance is the reason we succeeded."
To combat the less-than-desirable weather conditions, an around-the-clock 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. The use of different models made it important to collaborate in order to achieve consensus on predictions about the sea and sky conditions.
Sea states, ocean currents, changing beach shape, wind speeds and visibility all factored into U.S.- ROK decision-making about the safe and efficient movement of cargo from the sea to the shore.
"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."
With conditions being monitored closely, the pier was pieced together miles off shore. The exercise participants constructed and then guided the pier over shallow tidal flats into a pre-cleared channel on the beach enabling the transfer solid and liquid cargo from sea to the shore, improving logistics transfers, and allowing for communications and cooperation for the first time.
"This [CJLOTS] 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.