‘Extreme teamwork’ gets helos, gear boarded early at Busan
BUSAN, South Korea — U.S. soldiers employing "extreme teamwork" at a South Korean pier finished a day ahead of schedule Wednesday in readying for shipment the aircraft and other gear of an Apache helicopter unit moving to the States.
The helicopters and other equipment of the 1st Battalion, 2nd Aviation Regiment — a unit nicknamed "Half-Attack" — were put aboard the imposing, multistory Motor Vessel Green Dale at Pier 8 in Busan on Tuesday and Wednesday.
The battalion had been assigned to the 2nd Infantry Division’s 2nd Combat Aviation Brigade and stationed at Camp Eagle in Wonju.
"We actually accomplished it in a full day ahead of schedule," said Sgt. 1st Class Jamey Hutchens, of the brigade’s 602nd Aviation Support Battalion’s Company B. "It was very organized, believe me."
He was his unit’s port operations sergeant-in-charge for the Half-Attack equipment upload.
The 602nd is stationed at Camp Humphreys in Pyeongtaek, where soldiers detailed to the Pier 8 upload repeatedly practiced the intricacies of properly folding back an Apache’s rotor blades for shipment.
The plan had called for loading 12 helicopters Tuesday and 12 on Wednesday, but by 5 p.m. Tuesday, they had all but five aboard.
"We were moving so fast, the guys were really clicking," Hutchens said.
Hutchens asked for a two-hour extension, believing they could get the last helos aboard.
It was granted, but they finished without needing the extra time, he said.
"It was the soldiers themselves, it was the NCOs encouraging them," Hutchens said. "But at the same time, not pushing them to the point where anything was unsafe."
Shortly after 3 p.m. Wednesday — with a stiff wind raking the greenish, whitecapped waters — the black-hulled ship pulled in its mooring lines and began edging away from the pier, the water around it changing to a muddy brown. Two tugboats worked to turn the Green Dale toward the open sea.
The Green Dale was scheduled to leave Pier 8 on Thursday but the "extreme teamwork" got the work finished early, said Staff Sgt. Eric Hendrikson, also of Company B. He heads an Apache mechanics’ section.
The ship is to deliver Half-Attack’s 24 AH-64D Apache Longbow attack helicopters, about 350 Humvees, trucks and trailers, and other gear packed in shipping containers, to a port in the Long Beach, Calif., area.
It’ll then be taken to Fort Carson, Colo., which will be Half-Attack’s new home.