The Military Sealift Command (MSC) joint high-speed vessel USNS Choctaw County (JHSV 2) moored for the first time at Naval Weapons Station Cheatham Annex Dec. 1 for a weeklong proof of concept trial.
The trial is a collaborative effort between Navy Expeditionary Logistics Support Group (NAVELSG), Navy Cargo Handling Battalion 1 (NCHB 1) and Navy Expeditionary Medical Support Group (NEMSCOM) in setting up an expeditionary medical unit (EMU) on board.
The reconfigurable 20,000-square-foot mission bay area can be quickly adapted to support a number of different missions. Anything from transporting portable hospitals to support humanitarian assistance-disaster relief (HADR) to transporting tanks and troops.
Lt. Cmdr. Jeremy Weikel, NEMSCOM design director, said:
When the COCOM [combatant commander] requires a hospital, we can employ the JHSV to quickly move an EMU from point A to point B.
The EMU proof of concept is in the early stages of development and experimentation, and is not solely reliant on the JHSV platform to succeed. Weikel explained the JHSV is an appropriate platform for this type of experiment. As long as sea state can support movement of the vessel, the JHSV could be quickly loaded to transport an EMU and be met on station by NEMSCOM and fleet hospital personnel to unpack and set up the EMU.
Although not ready to conduct such tasks as operations that are conducted on hospital ships, the JHSV with an EMU setup could potentially serve as rapid medical response.
Press release, Image: US Navy