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U.S. military expects to end the Gaza pier run by local soldiers this month

A DoD-contracted driver transports humanitarian aid across the Trident Pier, and onto the beach in Gaza.
Department of Defense
A DoD-contracted driver transports humanitarian aid across the Trident Pier, and onto the beach in Gaza,

The Pentagon announced that a mobile pier will again begin delivering aid sometime this week to residents of Gaza, who face starvation.

The operation hasn’t been running since late June in anticipation of choppy seas off the coast of Gaza. A Pentagon source has confirmed that the pier is expected to run for several days before the operation shuts down permanently, as seasonal weather intensifies in the eastern Mediterranean.

The 7th Transportation Brigade Expeditionary from Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek–Fort Story is at the center of the operation. Roughly 500 troops set sail from Virginia in March for the joint Army-Navy mission.

The U.S. originally predicted the mission would deliver up to 150 truckloads a day of relief to the starving population of Gaza. The pier has shut down four times since it began operation May 27, largely due to weather. The weather in the eastern Mediterranean traditionally grows worse by late summer.

Work also stopped when the Israeli Defense Force used the surrounding beach as a staging area for hostage rescue.

One soldier remains in critical condition after three soldiers were injured in Mayon board the USNS Benavidez, which is being used to transfer cargo.

The Pentagon said 8,800 metric tons of aid has been transferred across the pier since the mission began.

But continuing to get food to the people of Gaza has become more difficult. The World Food Program has suspended its distribution operation at times over safety concerns.

The lack of transportation also caused aid to remain on the beach. That backlog is being cleared, according Gen. Pat Ryder, Pentagon spokesman.

“As I understand it, they have been able to move out a significant amount of that aid to their warehouses for onward distribution,” said Ryder, as he announced the pier would come back on line.

Aid groups have said even at its peak, the pier can provide only a fraction of the food aid needed in Gaza.

Steve joined WHRO in 2023 to cover military and veterans. Steve has extensive experience covering the military and working in public media, most recently at KPBS in San Diego, WYIN in Gary, Indiana and WBEZ in Chicago. In the early 2000s, he embedded with members of the Indiana National Guard in Kuwait and Iraq. Steve reports for NPR’s American Homefront Project, a national public media collaboration that reports on American military life and veterans. Steve is also on the board of Military Reporters & Editors.

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