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Lots of boats come to Oriental, some tie up at the Town Dock for a night or two, others drop anchor in the harbor for a while. If you've spent any time on the water you know that every boat has a story. The Shipping News on TownDock.net brings you the stories of the boats that have visited recently.

Army Landing Craft Hit Oriental
Army refuels, leaves their mark
August 22, 2018

riental’s most frequent military visitor is the Coast Guard. Last year, the town was invaded by the Marines. Tuesday, Oriental had a visit from the Army.

The Army, via boat.

Landing Craft Visit Oriental
A slighter larger military boat than Oriental is used to seeing.

Two LCM, or mechanized landing craft, were here to refuel. Their usual function is to deliver cargo, vehicles, and sometimes soldiers to points along a river bank, setting up camps and bases. Monday morning, they left Fort Eustis, VA headed for bombing targets in the Neuse River. The Oriental fuel docks were, as they are for many cruisers, just a stop along the way.

At nearly 74 ft long and 21 ft wide, there isn’t much room for maneuvering in the harbor. They weigh a bit too – 58 tons. The first LCM made it into the fuel docks with little trouble, missing a catamaran at the second free dock by a few feet.

Landing Craft Visit Oriental
Army Landing Craft at the fuel docks.

A few more attempts were needed by the second LCM. The stern pushed against the docks, picking it up and moving it towards the other landing boat. A fender caught under the dock planks and popped up several boards. Deciding to attempt a fresh approach, the second boat left the docks and motored back out into the river. We’re told a different operator took the helm.

Landing Craft Visit Oriental
Mistakes were made.

While refueling and waiting for the return of their companion vessel, soldiers repaired the dock and grabbed coffee and snacks at The Bean (acquiring 20 cups of Bean coffee.) Though able to hold 864 gallons of fuel each, both boats took just under 180 gallons between them. The crew said the boats can go up to 12 knots (burning 18 gallons an hour), but typically they cruise around 8 knots.

Landing Craft Visit Oriental
The final tally.

Each boat carried around 10 soldiers, give or take. It can carry up to 25 and did so several weeks ago on a trip down to Miami. It is doubtful it was comfortable as this is not the boat to take for a pleasure cruise.

The crews are scheduled to return to Virginia Friday.

Landing Craft Visit Oriental
Talaria watches the docking attempts from the other side of the pilings.
Landing Craft Visit Oriental
Successfully at dock.

More photos of the LCMs, crew, and maneuvers on the next page.


Landing Craft Visit Oriental
Ready with the bow line.
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Tom McIlhenney talks boat docking with the Army.
Landing Craft Visit Oriental
A soldier watches the second LCM come into dock.
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The docking attempts.
Landing Craft Visit Oriental
Some boards were stomped back into place. The last board needed a hammer.
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Some fixed the dock, most looked on.
Landing Craft Visit Oriental
LCMs refueling and ready to go.

Posted Wednesday August 22, 2018 by Allison DeWeese

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