PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii --- Joint Mobile Ashore Support Terminal Pacific (JMASTPAC) is currently preparing for Exercise Cobra Gold ‘04 (CG-04) from May 13-27 in Thailand.
According to the official U.S. Embassy in Thailand Web site, CG-04 is a regularly-scheduled joint/combined multilateral exercise, and is designed to improve U.S., Thai, Singaporean, Mongolian, and Filipino combat readiness and combined-joint interoperability. It also serves to enhance security relationships, and demonstrate U.S. resolve to support the security and humanitarian interests of U.S. friends and allies in the region.
Members of JMASTPAC are riding aboard HSV X-1 Joint Venture--an Army high-speed vehicle--from Hawaii to Thailand.
“This is kind of a role reversal,” said Senior Chief Information Systems Technician (SW) Iwalani E. Gutierrez, officer in charge of JMASTPAC. “Usually, the Navy is the one providing the transport. This time, Sailors are getting a ride aboard an Army ship.”
JMASTPAC operates under Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet to provide command, control, communications, computer and intelligence (C4I) support. The 14-person unit is kept on 48-hour alert status at all times, meaning they can be deployed anywhere in the world with only 48-hours notice. Once the unit receives word for deployment, they work with local military and police forces in the area to which they are deploying to arrange support.
At sea, Navy unit commanders have the full suite of communications and intelligence tools of the battle group at their disposal. Ashore, these same commanders have the same capabilities because of units like JMASTPAC.
“We provide a miniature version of an at-sea command suite on shore,” said Gutierrez. “We have transit cases with computer gear, generators, HVACs [heating, ventilation, air conditioning], tents, wiring and other equipment.”
JMASTPAC trains locally with Pacific Command’s Contingency C4I Platform, deploying to areas on Oahu to practice their techniques to maintain proficiency on setting up communications equipment.
Because there are not a lot of people in the unit, JMASTPAC Sailors cross-train to ensure proficiency with the equipment the unit uses.
“We’re totally self-sufficient,” said Lt. Scott Schneeweis, officer in charge of the units. “We carry our own fuel, food, water and other supplies. Also, since we’re such a small unit, we’ve cross-trained everyone across the unit. We have to be flexible to man all the watch stations.”
In addition to being able to man all watch stations, JMASTPAC Sailors are all pistol and rifle qualified. Gutierrez said the history of the young unit--it is less than 5 years old--goes back to Operation Desert Storm.
“A lot of this is rooted in the first Gulf War when Navy commanders had to go ashore for briefings and meetings,” she said. “They had to go back and forth to their [flag]ship for information updates between meetings.”
With the inception of the JMAST, unit commanders were able to remain on station instead of commuting back and forth.
JMASTPAC is one of four JMAST units in the Navy. The other three are JMAST Atlantic Fleet, JMAST Naval Forces Europe and JMAST U.S. Naval Forces Central Command.
“Sometimes [the exercise] is overwhelming,” said Gutierrez. “Everybody has to have a hand in everything. Once we overcome the administrative stuff and get everything established, it will settle down and we can get our job done.”