Joint Task Force 11 Wraps Up Jlots 18
Story by PO2 Kenneth Gardner on 05/03/2018
ACAJUTLA, El Salvador (April 28, 2018) After two weeks of Lift On/ Lift Off operations with the Military Sealift Command's Roll On/ Roll Off Vehicle Ship USNS Brittin (T-AKR 305), Joint Task Force (JTF) 11 wrapped up Joint Logistics Over the Shore (JLOTS) 18 with the departure of Brittin from Acajutla, El Salvador, April 27.
JLOTS 18 was the first phase of U.S. Southern Command's exercise Beyond the Horizon (BTH) 2018, which is led by U.S. Army South. BTH is a partnership building effort that U.S. Southern Command has in various locations in Central and South America each year. This year's BTH mission is to help bolster regional and partner relations with El Salvador through humanitarian and civic assistance projects, medical readiness exercises, and exercise related construction projects.
"This operation does more than just benefit El Salvador," said Lt. Col. David Key, commander of JTF 11, "it allows us to further build the relationship between us and them."
JLOTS exercises involve the loading/ unloading of ships without fixed port facilities in friendly or non-defended territory during times of war, crisis, or humanitarian response. They demonstrate the U.S. Army and Navy's capability to anchor a ship off the coast line and transport gear to shore, with or without the support of a port, to support units down range during humanitarian efforts.
Sailors from Naval Beach Group (NBG) 2 and its component commands Amphibious Construction Battalion's (ACB) 1 and 2, Assault Craft Unit (ACU) 2, and Naval Cargo Handling Battalion (NCHB) 1 worked alongside Soldiers from 11th Transportation Battalion, 7th Transportation Brigade, and component commands to offload gear and equipment from Brittin so U.S. Army South could provide humanitarian aid and training to the local Salvadorian population.
"We have Soldiers and Sailors working side by side, all day long, lifting stuff with the cranes at the same time, never having worked together before this operation," said Key. "You could not have asked for a better output, we had mission success and it was all done by a joint group of service members versus one particular service."
The equipment being offloaded will go to a forward operating base in San Salvador. Once there, they will build up a camp for U.S. service members to live in while building schools and delivering foreign humanitarian aid and training.
"This is better than a regular training exercise; here we have a mission with a meaning," said Key. "We are not just moving our own equipment around, we are moving other people's supplies that will help the Salvadorian people. Army and Navy working with each other is what we are designed to do."