With the Manhattan skyline in the distance, a specialized group of Soldiers were busy during the month of August working at the Army Corps' Caven Point Marine Terminal located along the New York Harbor in New Jersey.
The Soldiers are Army divers from the 86th Engineer Dive Detachment home based in Fort Eustis, Va. who deployed to accomplish training, pier waterfront infrastructure operations, carpentry, surface and underwater cutting and jetting along the shoreline docking facilities used by the Corps’ marine fleet of vessels.
Army divers and the Corps have a longstanding mutually-supportive relationship and were once again eager to train on a wide variety of tasks and in the process, provided the Corps with a high-quality product.
The 86th Engineer Dive Detachment’s support to the operation allowed for real world training in various mission essential collective and individual skill tasks. Capt. JohnPaul Navarro, Commander of the 86th Engineer Dive Team emphasized the importance of training and the work being performed.
“The practical application of the mission provided the divers with a unique opportunity to sharpen skills, stay mission ready, perform pier side and underwater repairs, as well as, perform dry dock and hull inspections of Corps watercraft,” said Navarro. “We’re jetting underneath the dry dock – using a fire hose to blast away sediment and mud that collects underneath the dry dock preventing it from operating at its full range. The jetting is performed every year by the divers at Caven Point.”
The divers replaced deteriorated cross and lateral bracings used to maintain the structural integrity of the piers, reattached damaged rubber bumpers that protect vessels from the pier, and replaced damaged sacrificial lumber which protects the structural lumber from wave action and vessels.
“We also removed nearly 125 tons of floating debris using advanced underwater equipment, such as the hydraulic chain saw and exothermic cutting torch which burns at 10,000 degrees,” added 1st. Lt. Ezra Swanson, Executive Officer, 86th Engineer Dive Team.
Staff Sgt. Chaise Turner, Platoon Sergeant, 86th Engineer Dive Team added, “The team was also able to install 12 by 12 foot lumber piles on the side of the pier that gets worn by vessels and wave action over time.”
Col. Kent Savre, the Army Corps’ North Atlantic Division Commander met with the divers along with Lt. Col. Michael Clancy, the Army Corps’ New York District Deputy Commander following a tour of the six acre facility accompanied by Tom Creamer, Chief of Operations, New York District and Walter Scott, Chief, Physical Support Branch that operates and maintains the facility and manages the Drift and Floatables Collection Project, and the Operations Support Branch Survey Section performs bathymetric surveys. The group also visited the main building, Construction Division Metro Area Offices and the Kill van Kull Channel Deepening Project offices including a tour along the waterfront. Savre also took the opportunity to meet with the divers and personally acknowledge their efforts by presenting them with a Commander’s coin.