Sail Army – Fast as HSV-X1 Joint Venture Goes Green

HSV-X1 Joint Venture, the 96m Wave Piercing Sealift Catamaran on charter to the US military from Bollinger / Incat USA has entered the next stage of her experimental programme by transferring from the US Navy to US Army.

The partnership of component commands from the US Navy, Army, Marine Corps, US Special Operations Command and Coast Guard are together exploring the operational implications and opportunities of new marine technologies that are bringing higher speeds, longer ranges and increased payload capacities to surface vessels.

Few people realise the 4th largest “navy” in the world is operated by the US Army who proudly proclaim their motto – Sail Army, quickly being replaced with Sail Army – Fast. The 7th Transport Group is the Army’s “navy” and is one of the most-deployed units in the Army, typically being one of the first to arrive in a theater.

Administrative control of HSV-X1 was transferred to the US Army at Rota Naval Air Station, Spain on March 20 following an exercise, Battle Griffin, off Norway alongside NATO forces.

While Joint Venture’s new crew acquainted themselves with their new charge, HSV-X1 underwent minor modifications to enhance the craft’s capabilities and provide additional versatility in a logistical role.

The Army crew brings to Joint Venture a wealth of experience with the three senior officers alone clocking an impressive 53 years service between them.

HSV-X1 is under the command of CW4 William R. Davis. Davis spoke of Joint Venture’s mission to provide logistical support within theater, to further test and evaluate the craft in “intra-theater lift requirements” for the next generation of the Army logistics watercraft, which will eventually replace the Army’s Logistics Support Vessel. His goal to participate and assist in US Army Transformation and to support and lead his crew into new age, cutting edge technology through lessons learned aboard Joint Venture HSV-X1.

A Chief Warrant Officer 4, based out of the 7th Transport Group 24th Battalion, Fort Eustis, Virginia, William Davis has been in the Army Watercraft Transportation Corps for 18 years. He was a Lead Training Instructor / writer for the US Army Transportation School – Marine Operations Branch. Major deployments in which Davis participated include Operations Shield, Storm and Recovery. Davis volunteered for the HSV-X1 program and was selected as Vessel Master aboard Joint Venture, his last assignment as Master on board an ocean going tug.

Joint Venture
’s Executive Officer/Chief Mate is CW3 Rebecca Brashears. With 17 years service in the Army, she received assignment to Fort Eustis, Virginia on completion of her basic training. She has served in many assignments from Seaman to Vessel Master on different vessels, including Landing Craft of all sizes, ocean-going and harbour tugs and cargo ships. Major deployments in which Chief Brashears has participated include Operations Uphold Democracy in Haiti, UN Mission in Haiti, Hurricane Mitch Disaster Relief in Central America, and most recently Operation Southern Watch in Kuwait. Her most recent assignment as Instructor/Writer in Marine Operations Branch of the US Army Transportation School led directly to volunteering to participate in the testing of Joint Venture HSV X1.

Chief Brashears prime role as Executive Officer is to command in the Master’s absence and as head of the deck department to coordinate training of the crew in all aspects of vessel operations. Her follow-on assignment is to develop Marine Deck Officer training for the US Army’s version of high speed vessels, the Theater Support Vessel (TSV).

Chief Engineer on Joint Venture is CW3 Greg Ellison. With 18 years of service to the Army Watercraft Transportation Corps he brings to HSV-X1 experience in the operations of Landing Craft Utility (LCU)2000’s, Logistic Support Vessel (LSV) and tugs ranging from coastal to ocean going. Greg is a certified Instructor for the US Army Transportation School. His last assignment was Chief Engineer aboard LSV 5 out of Ford Island, Hawaii and enroute back to Ft Eustis to become an instructor to the Transportation School was asked to volunteer for the HSV/TSV program.

Chief Ellison’s role is to oversee the operation of machinery from main engines through to electrical. “If it breaks, we fix it”, he comments. The Chief Engineer is supported by 1st, 2nd and 3rd officers and eight enlisted engineers. Greg’s aim is to test and run HSV-X1 to evaluate its commercial off the shelf technology and how it can be applied to military applications. To include the development and implimenatation of a training program for the engineers that will be assigned to a TSV.