Magazine article Warrior - Citizen

Helping the Environment

Magazine article Warrior - Citizen

Helping the Environment

Article excerpt

SALTWATER STATE PARK, Wash.- Active-duty Array divers used Army Reserve watercraft as transportation and floating platforms to help Northwest agencies remove an artificial reef of tires from Saltwater State Park near Seattle in August 2008.

The tires were placed there 30 years ago, but wildlife didn't grow well on them, nor were other forms of life attracted to them, and they were found to exude toxic substances.

They had to come out.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) sponsored a plan submitted as an Innovative Readiness Training request for the Army's help. Once approved, the Northwest Straits Commission coordinated all the pieces that came together in August at Saltwater State Park near Des Moines, Wash., halfway between Seattle and Tacoma, to remove about 500 tires in 50 to 60 feet of water, across 55 acres.

Soldiers from the Army Reserve's Pier 23 units in Tacoma - the 709th Transportation Co., 175 th Transportation Co., 481st Transportation Co. and 467th Transportation Co. - manned the LCU 2000, named the Malvern Hill, and two of the LCM-8s, otherwise known as "Mike" boats. The Malvern Hill is 170 feet long and 40 feet wide. The Mike boats are smaller and have limited space below decks. The divers are using the Malvern Hill as a "base" to prepare for dives and the Mike boats are used to carry the tires to a predesignated site ashore where they are loaded into a container.

"That's the biggest load we've had yet," said Watercraft Operator Spc. Joel Siemienczuk of the 175th Trans. Co. "Yesterday we only had 17 but the divers are kind of getting into their groove now. …

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