Navy Cargo Handling Battalion (NCHB) 3 concluded 42 years of service to the Navy during a decommissioning ceremony onboard USS Hornet (CV 12) Museum Aug. 24.
The ceremony was attended by 13 former NCHB 3 commanding officers, as well as Rear Adm. Mark Belton, Commander Navy Expeditionary Logistics Support Group (NAVELSG), Capt. Michael Stiglitz, Deputy NAVELSG and CMDCM James Sweet.
“In 1971 the Battalion was the first cargo handling battalion to be stood up,” said Cmdr. Mark Wills, NCHB 3 commanding officer, “NCHB 3 has a long and proud history, having met our nation’s call to duty for nearly half a century.”
Wills assisted in leading NCHB 3 through a successful 2 week Unit Level Training and Readiness Assessment (ULTRA) marking the first time a west coast unit was used to perform an ULTRA, successfully proving the concept.
NCHB 3 was the pioneer in the reserve force based on concepts of cargo handling logistics used during World War II and Korea. She was formally established in 1971 as a mobile logistics support unit capable of world wide deployment in its entirety or in specialized detachments.
“Our mission was ‘to do everything’ in regards to movement of cargo and we had little direction,” said Cmdr. Tulio Acquistapace, third commanding officer of NCHB 3, “it was a confusing and challenging time.”
Over the years, NCHB 3 played integral roles during Operation Desert Storm, the Global War on Terror and Operation Iraqi Freedom. NCHB 3 also supported Hurricane Mitch Relief, Trident Arch VI, Tandem Thrust, and Operation Allied Forge. She was selected twice as the National Defense Transportation Unit of the Year for 2000 and 2010.
NCHB 3′s equipment and material will be transitioned to other battalions; her Sailors are being reassigned amongst various units of the Navy Reserves including NCHB 5 and 14.
NCHB 3, is a component of Navy Expeditionary Logistics Support Group. NAVELSG is homeported in Williamsburg, Va., with an active battalion located at Cheatham Annex; with forward-deployed detachments and reserve battalions located across the United States.
NAVELSG provides Sailors with the knowledge and skills needed to support the Fleet’s surface and air-handling mission. More than 100 Sailors and civilians work hand in hand with the Fleet and are dedicated to ensuring training is current and well executed on behalf of 3,500 active duty and reserve Sailors in the administration, logistics and training of their active and reserve components’.
Press Release, August 27, 2013; Image: hnsa