US Army Reactivates First Overseas Watercraft Unit After 26 Years

The US Army has reactivated its first watercraft unit outside the US after nearly three decades.

Known as the 5th Composite Watercraft Company, the unit was recently activated in Yokohama, Japan, and is expected to boost America’s maritime capabilities in the Indo-Pacific.

It is composed of around 280 personnel to support command and control, maintenance, and planning missions for up to 16 US vessels.

It will also be capable of supporting waterborne tactical, joint amphibious, and logistics-over-the-shore operations.

It remains unclear how many watercraft are in the company, but it may include logistics support vessels, landing crafts, mechanized or maneuver support vessels, and small tug detachments.

The 5th Composite Watercraft Company was last active in 1997, operating the US Army’s logistical support vessels in Hawaii.

Improved Response to Contingencies

According to US Army Pacific commander Major Gen. Jered Helwig, the reactivation reflects the importance of military watercraft operations in the Indo-Pacific.

He called the move “strategic,” saying the unit would enable improved response “to a myriad of contingencies” in the region.

He also stressed watercraft’s role in aiding humanitarian response and disaster relief operations.

For US Army Japan commander Maj. Gen. David Womack, the establishment of a watercraft unit in the Indo-Pacific is proof that the US Army can fight on land, air, and sea.

Apart from Japan, the army is also reportedly planning to deploy another watercraft unit in Australia and create an enduring logistics support area.

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