Watercraft engineers of the United States Army Vessel Churubusco,
Landing Craft Utility 2013 (LCU-2013) with the Army Watercraft
Company (Provisional), 371st Sustainment Brigade, have the challenge
of maintaining not only their transportation, but also their home at
Kuwait Naval Base, Kuwait.
(From left to right) Spc. Lisa F.
Carlisle, a Kansas City, Kan. native, Spc. Miguel S. Rodriguez, a
Tampa Fla. native and Spc. Kevin L. Terre, a Lacey Wash. native
clean equipment after an oil leak in the engine room of the United
States Army watercraft vessel, Churubusco, Landing Craft Utility
2013 at sea on Aug. 27, 2013. The crew are all watercraft engineers
with the Army Watercraft Company (Provisional), 371st Sustainment
Brigade. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Kimberly Hill)
The waves of the Persian Gulf lap gently at the hull of
the vessel as it sways back and forth along the port. The
air is humid, but comfortable as a cool wind drifts in from
The sun sets on the horizon, casting golden
and pink shadows on the blue waters and the deck of the
It's a tranquil and beautiful image
of life at sea aboard an Army watercraft vessel.
Below decks it's an entirely different image.
engine room below soldiers are gathered around a piece of
machinery, the air is 15 degrees warmer and far more humid
then above deck.
The scent of chemicals, diesel and
oil coat the air and the constant noise of the engines
churning makes it almost impossible to hear anything else.
Oil is splattered on the wall behind them, coating the
white paint with streaks of thick oil where a cap broke off
one of the engines earlier.
The soldiers work quickly
in repairing the leak, shouting commands above the din of
the engines and wiping their oil streaked hands on their
The soldiers are Army watercraft
engineers, and it's their job to maintain the picturesque
image above deck by maintaining the equipment below.
“If they don't do their job, there is no way I can do mine,
said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Michael J. Byrne, a Swansboro,
N.C. native and the vessel master of the LCU-2013.
Watercraft engineers of the United States Army Vessel
Churubusco, Landing Craft Utility 2013 (LCU-2013) with the
Army Watercraft Company (Provisional), 371st Sustainment
Brigade, have the challenge of maintaining not only their
transportation, but also their home at Kuwait Naval Base,
Both at sea and at port, the watercraft
vessel serves not only as a piece of equipment, but where
the soldiers, sleep, eat and live, said Omar J. Cruz, first
mate of the LCU-2013 and a Tampa, Fla. native.
soldiers of the LCU-2013 are with the 824th Transportation
Company and are headquartered out of Moorhead City, N.C.
with a detachment in Tampa, Fla.
separated unit had to learn to work together and become an
integrated unit for their current deployment in support of
Operation Enduring Freedom.
“There isn't a job on
this boat that doesn't matter, everyone interlocks with each
other,” said Spc. Lisa F. Carlisle, a watercraft engineer
with LCU-2013 and a Kansas City, Kansas native. “Half the
crew of this boat is from the Tampa detachment and the rest
are from Morehead City, it doesn't matter.”
the boat is at port or at sea it is the engineers job to
constantly perform preventative maintenance checks and
inspect and maintain the equipment to ensure the boat is
mission capable and the mission will be completed while at
sea, said Carlisle.
“If we broke down at sea, we
could drift, we could float into enemy waters that we don't
want to be in, we could have fires or damaged equipment very
easily,” said Cruz.
The expertise and skill required
to avoid such catastrophic events means that each engineer
is licensed to a specific level and must maintain their
licensing throughout their military service, which can be a
challenge for reservists, said Byrne.
The very unique
thing about our field (Army watercraft) is that it is
license driven,” said Byrne. “Maintaining that license is
difficult for a reservist, our annual trainings are usually
at least 29 days, a month away from home during the summer.”
Carlisle looks at her job as a way to see the impact of
her hard work immediately as well as a way to prove to her
husband that she's more than capable to be an engineer, she
“I like adventures and I thought this would be
an adventure,” said Carlisle. “My husband said it was harder
for women to be mechanics, so of course I had to prove him
Despite the challenges of the job coupled
with hot and dirty work, the engineers of LCU-2013 wouldn't
want to be doing anything else.
“Every day you learn
something new, there's so much down here,” said Spc. Miguel
S. Rodriguez, a watercraft engineer with the LCU-2013 and a
Tampa, Fla. native. “It feels good at the end of the day.”
By U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Kimberly Hill
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