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I learned that good judgement comes from experience and that experience grows out of mistakes.-- General Omar N. Bradley
New York Harbor, which is located along the western shore of Long Island, extends from the confluence of the Hudson and East Rivers in the north to Lower New York Bay in the south. It includes Jamaica Bay to the east and Sandy Hook Bay to the south. New Jersey ports of Perth Amboy, Port Elizabeth, Port Newark, Bayonne and others are accessible through tributaries which empty into New York Harbor. The harbor complex is located between the New England lowlands and the Atlantic coastal plain. Elevations range from sea level to a high of over 400 ft in the Richmond area on Staten Island. Lower New York Bay is open to the Atlantic Ocean in the quadrant from the east around to the south, while Long Island Sound opens to the northeast. The Upper Bay opens to the south via the Narrows to the Lower Bay.
The New York/New Jersey Port area is one of the largest commercial marine complexes in the world. New York Harbor is a large, protected, natural harbor located only nine miles from the Atlantic Ocean. Within the harbor complex there are over 1100 facilities including over 720 piers, wharves and docks (many inactive), good deep-water anchorages and an extensive channel network. Entrance to the harbor is via a narrow man-made channel which is difficult to navigate during heavy weather.
The Military Ocean Terminal, Bayonne, New Jersey , is located on the western side of the Upper Bay about 15 miles from the entrance to Ambrose Channel. There are ten northside (N1 through N10), seven southside (S1 through S7) and two east side (E1,E2) berths located around the terminal peninsula. Northside berths are 570-633 ft long and 29-39 ft deep below mean low water (MLW). E1 and E2 are 400 and 650 ft long, respectively, and 45 ft in depth below MLW. (Note: access to the terminal is restricted to 38 ft depth below MLW.) The south side berths are 28-37 ft deep below MLW and 600-800 ft long; deck heights are 13 ft above MLW. The southern and eastern berths are somewhat exposed to incoming seas through the Narrows.
As a result of 1995 Base Realignment and Closure actions Military Traffic Management Command's East and West Coast installations -- Oakland Army Base, CA, and the Military Ocean Terminal, Bayonne, NJ -- were slated for closure. A phased transition of operations from Bayonne and Oakland began in October 1997 and continued through June 1999.
In 1995 the BRAC Commission recommended eliminating dedicated military ocean terminals. The BRAC on its own motion realigned activities away from MOTBY to a so-called Base X. The City of Bayonne Reuse Authority looked into future uses, although eventually the port will go back to the city of Bayonne. Future uses considered include a container port area by the deep northern channel, and a park at the tip of the 2 1/2-mile peninsula.
Military Ocean Terminal, Bayonne, NJ [MOTBY] is a unique strategic asset. No other port on the east or gulf coasts, commercial or military, can duplicate its combination of advantages in the support of power projection from the continental United States without the disruption of commercial port activities. This was amply demonstrated during the Gulf war and operations in Somalia and Haiti. Dozens of units shipped through MOTBY as well as outsized cargo such as M1A2 tanks from as far as Fort Hood, TX.
Bayonne sits astride the huge, highly developed, multimodal transportation network of the American Northeast Corridor. Once cargo arrives at Bayonne, it can be placed directly into vast covered warehouses or uncovered--and fully secure--staging areas. All types of cargo, from heavy, outsized weapons like the M1A2 tank and the Patriot antimissile system, to the full range of munitions available to our fighting forces can be loaded by Bayonne's specially trained union force using state of the art, dedicated rail lines using every type of roll-on/roll-off vessel in the MSC inventory. Bayonne has the best steaming times to Europe, a full day's advantage over any other US port, military or civilian.
Since most ports are containerized, there are no commercial ports which can lift the 70 tons of the M1A2 Abrams. If forced to rely on roll-on/roll-off ships in the MSC inventory, the number of useable commercial ports plummets and even the remaining Military Ocean Terminal, Sunny Point, NC, an ammunition depot, quickly becomes unusable. As operations in the Persian Gulf, Somalia and Haiti have proven beyond doubt, MOTBY's unique heavy sealift capabilities were always available in a crisis.
The Pentagon's recommendation that Bayonne be closed was based on the premise that commercial ports on the east and gulf coasts will be both willing and able to forego their profitable contracts to accommodate time sensitive military cargo. The exact opposite of this premise was experienced with the ports of Houston and Portland during the Gulf war.
1862: Union troops push 5,000 confederates out of Maysbille, Ark., at the Second Battle of Pea Ridge.
1863: Colonel Benjamin Griersons troops bring destruction to central Mississippi on a two-week raid along the entire length of the state
1864: Confederate General John Bell Hood pulls his battered army into Guntersville, Alabama, but finds the Tennessee River difficult to cross. Plotting another attack against the Yankees, he continues traveling westward with his defeated army.
1942: American Maj. Gen. Mark Clark meets in Algeria with French officials loyal to the Allied cause, as well as Resistance fighters, regarding the launch of Operation Torch, the first Allied amphibious landing of the war.
1951: U.N. and communist liaison officers signed an agreement to resume armistice talks. Both sides agreed to move the talks from Kaesong to Panmunjom and defined a neutral zone around the area.
1954: As a result of the Geneva accords granting Communist control over North Vietnam, U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower authorizes a crash program to train the South Vietnamese Army.
1955: The prototype of the F-105 Thunder Chief makes its maiden flight.
1962: President John F. Kennedy announces that U.S. spy planes have discovered Soviet missile bases in Cuba.
1972: In Saigon, Henry Kissinger meets with South Vietnamese President Thieu to secure his approval of a proposed cease-fire that had been worked out at the secret peace talks with the North Vietnamese in Paris. Thieu rejected the proposed accord.