Sailors assigned to Navy Cargo Handling Battalion ONE (NCHB 1) are preparing to deploy to Antarctica in support of the U.S. Antarctic Program (USAP), the nation’s research program on the southernmost continent, which is managed by the National Science Foundation (NSF).
One of those Sailors deploying soon is Chief Equipment Operator (EXW/SCW) Samuel Acosta, Ship Supervisor, who hails from Brooklyn, New York. He is returning to the southernmost continent for a fifth time and is bringing his Seabee “Can-do attitude” with him and describes his upcoming deployment in his own words.
“I have seven years of cargo handling experience and look forward to applying that knowledge again when we return to Antarctica. During my deployment I will serve as a ship supervisor which requires me to manage more than 50 Sailors responsible for offloading supplies to be used by scientists and support personnel.
The team deploying to Antarctica will work around the clock for nearly a month in below freezing temperatures to transport more than 1,000 containers on and off of the ship. Bringing senior level experience provides that quality mentorship to push forward when operating in a cold weather operating area.
NCHB 1 deploys to NSF’s McMurdo Station, where less than one percent of the world’s population has ever visited, as part of Operation Deep Freeze the military’s logistical support component of the USAP.
The experience I have learned in the Seabee construction force over the past 17 years has been easily applied to the cargo handling trade. The last time I was stationed at NCHB 1, I worked all the way from a stevedore to ship’s supervisor where I gained a lot of experience handling cargo from containers to vehicles.
During my limited off time in Antarctica I plan on visiting some of the historic sites at McMurdo Station, such as Scott’s Discovery Hut (“Scott’s Hut”) which was built in January 1902 and later used by famed explorer Ernest Shackleton in 1909.
To see some of the original stuff on display really takes you back in time such as seeing remnants of a Chiefs Mess from when McMurdo Station was an active U.S. naval base is inspirational. It’s really amazing to share in that history.”
McMurdo Station, the main U.S. station in Antarctica, is a coastal station at the southern tip of Ross Island and is the primary logistics facility for supply of inland stations and remote field camps, and is also the waste management center for much of the USAP.
As the USAP manager, NSF has a Presidential mandate to manage three year-round research stations in Antarctica. McMurdo is the largest of the three stations and the globe’s southernmost seaport.
NAVELSG, a component of NECC, is a Navy Reserve command organized and staffed to provide a wide range of supply and transportation support critical for peacetime support, crisis response, humanitarian and combat service missions. NAVELSG consists of a full-time, selective reserve support staff and five Navy Expeditionary Logistics Regiments and 11 Cargo Handling Battalions.
For photos of the upcoming mission in 2016 to Antarctica, follow Navy Expeditionary Logistics Support Group’s (NAVELSG) command Facebook page to follow their deployment.