Four more ships deploy to build Gaza humanitarian aid port

by Vern Evans

Four Army logistical support vessels are on their way to the eastern Mediterranean Sea, the Pentagon announced Tuesday, to build an offshore pier that will open a maritime corridor to flow humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip.

The Monterrey, Amoros, Wilson Wharf and James A. Loux left Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia, on Tuesday, Air Force Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder told reporters, following the departure of the Gen. Frank A. Besson, Jr. over the weekend.

“We expect the pier to be fully operational in approximately 60 days, which will be able to facilitate the delivery of up to 2 million meals daily,” Ryder said.

President Joe Biden first announced the port construction plan during the State of the Union address on Thursday. The 7th Transportation Brigade, including roughly 1,000 troops, will use the Joint Logistics Over-The-Shore program to build a modular causeway off Gaza’s coast and then anchor it to the beach.

Cargo ships carrying aid will then be able to offload to an offshore platform, where troops will transfer it to smaller vessels and drive it to the causeway, where it will be loaded onto trucks and driven into Gaza ― all without U.S. troops having to set foot in the territory.

The pier’s location will likely not be disclosed ahead of time, Ryder said.

In the meantime, the U.S. is continuing to air drop aid into Gaza. Another joint mission with Royal Jordanian Air Force on Tuesday delivered 5,000 meals, Ryder said, bringing the total from U.S. airdrops to more than 204,000 meals, 48,000 bottles of water and more than 5,000 of other food.

Meghann Myers is the Pentagon bureau chief at Military Times. She covers operations, policy, personnel, leadership and other issues affecting service members.

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