A Navy ship will dock at Pier 2 in Kodiak on Tuesday and open its doors to the public from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Wednesday.
Senior Chief Petty Officer Brandon Raile from Alaskan Command public affairs said people interested in getting an inside look at the ship should arrive early to the pier and be prepared to wait in line.
The ship’s stop in Kodiak is one among many the ship will make around Alaska for a U.S. Navy and Marine Corps Arctic Expeditionary Capabilities Exercise, the first-ever in Alaska, Raile said.
“We are training our ability to operate in Alaska,” he said.
The 3,000-personnel training exercise will occur throughout the month of September and include various U.S. Navy ships traveling throughout the Aleutian Islands and Southcentral Alaska.
One such location is Adak, where Explosive Ordnance Disposal Units and Mobile Diving Salvage Units are conducting training exercises, Raile said.
“This is primarily because of Alaska’s increasing importance. We have a lot of changing conditions that are opening up a lot of seaways that weren’t previously opened, he said, referring to the Arctic’s changing environment. “There is an increasing need for us to operate up here.”
Alaska is a strategic location in the Arctic for peace and stability in the Pacific, because of the resurgence of what the Navy calls “peer competition” with neighboring countries to the west, he said.
The training will prepare Navy and Marine Corps personnel for a variety of situations, including disaster relief, he said.
One focus of the training is to test joint expeditionary capabilities: how to conduct operations in a hostile environment in coastal areas, he said.
Another focus of the training will be to test logistical transfer capabilities in Alaska, such as pumping simulated fuel, in this case saltwater, from ship to a shore station.
This strategy could be used if the ship is unable to dock and pump fuel and therefore has to conduct fuel transfer operations offshore, Raile said.
This capability would be useful in a situation where “we had another massive earthquake that messed up the piers and the ability to get fuel into the ship,” he said.
Service members have been working with coast guard members in Kodiak to set up community service projects at East Elementary School and the Kodiak Baptist Mission.