USNS Bob Hope Brings Third ID Equipment Home - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

08/21/03

USNS Bob Hope Brings Third ID Equipment Home

Some of the cargo aboard the Bob Hope. Some of the cargo aboard the Bob Hope.

Thousands of Third Infantry Division troops are back home, and now their equipment is also starting to arrive. The US Naval Ship Bob Hope pulled into the port of Savannah early yesterday morning, bringing with it everything from armored personnel carriers to helicopters.

Today's been a busy day on board the Bob Hope. This massive ship is bringing home more than 1,400 pieces of the Third ID's equipment from Operation Iraqi Freedom. In just three days, it will all be unloaded, including more than 30 helicopters, 40 tracked vehicles, 500 trucks and Humvees and 800 trailers and containers.

"That's a lot of equipment, but it's easy to move because there's so much space," said Lt. Col. Paul Ernst with the 841st Transportation Battalion.

The Bob Hope has six cargo decks with 380,000 square feet of cargo space. To give you an idea of just how large that is, it's about the equivalent of eight football fields or enough space to carry an entire tank battalion.

"I don't think any ships can move the amount of cargo at the speed that we do," said Capt. John Kelley.

The Bob Hope travels at a speed of 24 knots. The ship is 950 feet long and 106 feet across the beam. It's a special class of ship designed after the first Gulf War to help the military mobilize anywhere in the world. Many say it's a fitting tribute to the legendary entertainer Bob Hope.

Brig. Gen. Jose Riojas, the assistant division Support commander of the Third ID said, "The support Bob Hope gave military people, soldiers as well as other uniformed services, over the years has been tremendous."

It's a tradition that will likely be carried on by the ship that bears his name.

Reported by: Liz Flynn, lflynn@wtoc.com

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