Military convoy arrives, departs from port for training at Fort Polk

Published 11:11 am Wednesday, March 28, 2018

The Port of Port Arthur was abuzz with activity as more than 1,000 pieces of military equipment was offloaded in preparation for a 2 ½-hour drive to Fort Polk, Louisiana, on Tuesday.

Convoys of 25 vehicles each lined up in and outside of a fenced area across from the Port of Port Arthur office on Houston Avenue. The line-up moved down a nearby street and with local law enforcement blocking traffic.

Chief Warrant Officer 3 Nathaniel David Parks said the movement of military equipment is a coordinated effort among eight agencies not counting the military.

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Fort Polk is the home of the Joint Readiness Training Center and the military personnel involved are heading to training.

The 1,727 pieces of equipment shipped to Port Arthur came to town via the USNS Watson, a 950-foot long roll-on/roll-off ship.

The massive ship features multiple levels which local media had a chance to tour — from the top level overlooking the ship channel to command centers and engine areas.

The Watson runs on two giant gas turbines, the same size as that of a 747 airplane, each of which has 34,000 horse power for a total of 68,000 horse power.

Bruce Lachance, the civilian captain of the ship, said the ship began to gear up for the operation about a month ago. Once everything is unloaded the ship will lay in berth in Beaumont until the military training exercise is completed and it’s time to head back.