In the Military
Hybrid electric fleet to replace shuttles to Arizona Memorial
In August the Navy plans to release its specifications for a new fleet of hybrid electric boats that will replace the five 70-foot Navy utility boats currently used as shuttles to and from the USS Arizona Memorial.
The old boats are reaching the end of their service life. Requests for bids will probably come a year later.
The Navy says the new ferry boats will be made of fiberglass and have a maximum length of 78 feet. They will accommodate up to 149 passengers and three crew members.
More than a million people annually visit the Arizona Memorial, which is run by the U.S. Park Service.
Kaneohe Marines with the 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, participated last month in Operation Mountain Lion in Afghanistan's Korengal Valley.
"The enemy had very few options," said Lt. Col. James Bierman, commanding officer of 1st Battalion, whose unit was the main thrust of the operation that began April 11.
"The first option he has is to run," Bierman said in a Pentagon news release. " If he runs, he leaves the safety and sanctuary of the villages where he's mixed with the local population, and he now becomes detectable by air support."
The next option would be to blend in with the local populace, Bierman said. "The last option (the enemy) has is to fight. If he does that, he's going to have a world of hurt put on him."
Every single company from the Kaneohe unit has been in firefights, said 1st Lt. Kevin Frost, who leads 3rd Platoon, Company C.
"It is a credit to our abilities as coalition forces that they've shot at us but haven't come close to winning any engagements," Frost said.
Staff Sgt. Jason Butler, a 1st Battalion operations chief, added: "There have been dozens of firefights so far, but the enemy is finding out that they pretty much can't do anything effective against us."
The news release said an estimated 2,500 Afghan and coalition forces are in the Korengal and surrounding valleys.
The Afghan National Army has played the central role in this operation, said Gunnery Sgt. Donald Vollmer, a 1st Battalion operations watch chief. "We are here to support them," he said.
"Our Navy corpsmen have treated more than 3,000 Afghan locals in the Korengal Valley since the start of Operation Mountain Lion," said 1st Sgt. John Armstead, of Headquarters and Service Company. "We are here to help make their lives better and to provide whatever support and assistance we can."
Maj. Michael Miller, the battalion's executive officer, said Operation Mountain Lion has the potential to be the catalyst that changes the makeup of the entire region. The operation essentially has taken away a major enemy sanctuary, Miller said.
"This was ANA (Afghan National Army) and coalition teamwork at its best. We were together shoulder to shoulder on this operation, and it establishes a foundation of support from the local populace when the ANA take charge," Miller said.
"The operation is stabilizing the area and helping the people of Afghanistan," said Master Gunnery Sgt. Carlos Craig, the battalion's operations chief. "Operation Mountain Lion has put us five to 10 years ahead of where we were before the operation started."
"In the Military" was compiled from wire reports and other sources by reporter Gregg K. Kakesako
, who covers military affairs for the Star-Bulletin. He can be reached by phone at 294-4075 or by e-mail at email@example.com