This past Saturday the Navy christened our newest expeditionary fast transport, USNS Puerto Rico (T-EPF 11). We are honored to have an MSC ship named after the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and grateful to have as the ship’s sponsor, U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor.
Naval forces are critically important in building partnerships with our friends and allies, rapidly responding to crises, deterring adversaries, and sustaining our forward presence. Ships like USNS Puerto Rico enable MSC to confidently sail the world’s oceans, providing assured logistics and specialized support to the joint warfighter.
Spearhead-class expeditionary fast transports are operating around the world supporting maritime security operations, humanitarian assistance/disaster relief, logistics support, and essential international and joint exercises.
Three of Puerto Rico’s sister ships, USNS Trenton, USNS Yuma, and USNS Carson City are operating in the Mediterranean Sea and off the coast of Africa; three more, USNS Brunswick, USNS Millinocket, and USNS Fall River are working in the Pacific, while USNS Choctaw County is operating in the Arabian Gulf.
USNS Spearhead recently returned from operations in the waters of the Caribbean and around South America. USNS Burlington delivered to the Navy this week and USNS City of Bismarck will soon deploy to its permanent hub in the Pacific.
The work these ships and their crews are doing around the world demonstrate the essential characteristics of the expeditionary fast transport class: speed, capacity, adaptability, and resiliency.
It is important to remember that this ship will be crewed by U.S. Mariners. As this ship will likely sail in harm’s way, our Mariners will be there, reliably and bravely manning this ship, even if the seas become a battlefield.
I want to recognize and thank all those in industry, at MSC, and other Navy commands, who played a role in bringing this ship to life. We eagerly await the arrival of this ship to our fleet where our Mariners will give her life and sail her into the challenges ahead.
United We Sail,
Rear Adm. Dee L. Mewbourne, USN
Commander, Military Sealift Command