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From yesterday's yachts to tomorrow's tugboats
Soldiers in the 651st Transportation Corps Harbor Master Operations Detachment from Houston, Texas, march to the firing range as part of their training May 13 at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J. The 651st TC HMOD is an Army Reserve watercraft operations and engineering unit training for their upcoming deployment to Kuwait. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Brittany H. Gardner/Released)
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From yesterday’s yachts to tomorrow’s tugboats

Posted 5/20/2011   Updated 5/20/2011 Email story   Print story


by Spc. Brittany H. Gardner
362nd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

5/20/2011 - JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. -- Soldiers from the 651st Transportation Corps Harbor Master Operations Detachment line up with their weapons in hand May 13 at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst. They march down the dirt road to the firing range with their minds on training.

The unit receives vigorous training in basic combat skills in preparation for their upcoming deployment to Kuwait although these soldiers' primary job is to operate and repair watercraft. They will be the first Army Reserve Harbor Master unit to deploy as replacement for active-duty Soldiers.

"The Army Reservists from Houston, Texas, will perform mariner duties on Army watercraft and perform maintenance to auxiliary equipment on marine vessels over the next year," said Sgt. 1st Class Darrell L. Bell, noncommissioned officer in charge of 651st TC HMOD.

The 651st TC HMOD soldiers have a variety of civilian jobs although everyone in this unit is a trained watercraft operator or engineer in the Army. Sgt. David H. Gooden, originally from the 709th Transportation Company in Tacoma, Wash., used the passion he developed through his military experience to pursue a similar civilian career.

Gooden says he uses his knowledge of large Army utility vessels and smaller tug boats, as well as Army values and training, to help him succeed in his job every day. He spends his hours away from the military as a civilian marine mechanic working on large motor yachts.

"I work for Delta Marine Industries -- I've been there for thirteen and a half years," said Gooden. "The Army knowledge I had really helped me understand my civilian job better. Attention to detail and striving to do my best were things I learned in the military which has helped me in my civilian career."

He has become an essential part of the team although Gooden has only been training with this unit for a few weeks, said Bell. He uses his civilian skill set and Army training to accomplish each training mission.

As the deployment date draws near, Gooden and the 651st TC HMOD continue to train on marksmanship skills, land navigation and other basic soldier skills, Bell said. This training, along with mission-specific training these soldiers completed previously, will help them succeed during their deployment.

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