Few turn out to hear of 500 troops at Indian Island in June

By Allison Arthur of the Leader
Posted 3/22/16

U.S. Navy officials stood at ease March 16 at Chimacum High School, waiting for people to show up to comment on a training exercise in June, expected to bring some 600 soldiers and sailors to Naval …

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Few turn out to hear of 500 troops at Indian Island in June

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U.S. Navy officials stood at ease March 16 at Chimacum High School, waiting for people to show up to comment on a training exercise in June, expected to bring some 600 soldiers and sailors to Naval Magazine Indian Island.

The exercise June 7-16 is coordinated in conjunction with the national Cascadia Rising disaster response efforts, which would be put into place in the event of a major earthquake. It assumes that a magnitude 9.0 earthquake would cause widespread damage to roads, bridges, ports and airports and the need to shelter up to 1 million displaced survivors.

An hour into the open house in Chimacum, about 13 people had come to see the presentation and ask questions of officials, which included Cdr. Nick Vande Griend, who last year became commanding officer at Naval Magazine Indian Island.

Griend said the 600 troops expected to be on hand would not be interacting with the public during the training. Four sites on the island would be set aside for the exercise, including one area for a tent camp, considered the life support area. The island base on Port Townsend Bay hosted a Joint Logistics Over the Shore (JLOTS) exercise in 2005.

Sheila Murray, external relations manager for Navy Region Northwest, said there were open houses in both Chimacum and Tacoma and only one person showed up for one in Tacoma.

Comments on the training exercises are being accepted through April 8. Questions and comments can be emailed to

JLOTS_Cascadia_Rising2016@usace.army.mil.

LOTS OF ACRONYMS

The project is rich with an alphabet soup of acronyms.

Called a JLOTS exercise, it is sponsored by the U.S. Transportation Command (USTRANSCOM).

The purposes is to practice loading and unloading ships without port facilities so that equipment and cargo can be moved from ship to shore at inadequate or damaged ports or over a bare beach, according to literature distributed at the event.

“Under the Cascadia Rising training scenario, it is expected that severe damage to existing ports, airports, roads and bridges will require the implementation of JLOTS capabilities to establish supply lines for life-saving and life-supporting response efforts,” the draft project description handout states.

Four locations in Washington would be used in the training: Naval Magazine Indian Island, the Port of Tacoma, Solo Point at Joint Base Lewis-McChord and Jensen Point on Vashon Island.

The National Environmental Policy Act requires federal agencies to assess any potential environment impact of their proposed actions before making decisions. The goal of that review process is to involve citizens and make better informed decisions, the literature states.

Conservation measures listed for Indian Island include: all landings are restricted to the seaplane and boat ramps; no anchor drops to occur within 300 feet of mean higher water in order to protect eelgrass beds; gray water from kitchens and showers is to be collected for proper treatment and disposal; portable latrines and dumpster serves will be available and discharge rates will be slow to ensure waste does not disturb sediment and cause turbidity.

Normal marine navigation routes would not be compromised by the Port Townsend Bay exercise, according to the Navy.

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