Off the coast of Southern California, since April 16, Military Sealift Command fleet replenishment oiler USNS Henry J. Kaiser (T-AO 187) has been providing logistics services to five ships from the USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) carrier strike group as they conducted pre-deployment exercises and qualifications.
Through a series of 18 replenishments-at-sea (RAS), Kaiser delivered 740 pallets of food, parts and equipment, as well as retrieving 61 Pallets of waste for off-load ashore. In addition, the ship delivered approximately 3 million gallons of jet fuel and 6 million gallons of diesel ship fuel.
According to Lt. Cmdr. Kennis Sigmon, Military Sealift Command Pacific’s deputy logistics officer, logistics support at sea, such as that conducted by Kaiser the past few weeks, not only enables the strike group to remain at sea longer and to conduct more than one certification in an underway period, but also makes it easier for the ship to receive supplies and mail.
“RASing is easier for the crews of the strike group ships to receive goods at sea and to directly stock them when they have a full crew onboard,” explained Sigmon. “When a ship can get supplies at sea, they don’t have to deal with a logistics load at the pier after an exercise, when they only have a duty section to work with.”
Successful RASing requires a number of consideration; weather, size of the ships, geographic location, cargo moving. For the logistics department, the name of the game is communication and planning.
“We are in contact with the ships requiring supplies and fuel, usually by email,” said Sigmon. “Communication is the key, so we can ensure the logistics department can fulfill requirements to the ship’s timeline. We usually know in advance, so we can gather pre-delivery guidance, but sometimes things come up at the last minute that we have to coordinate. The better we communicate, in these instances, the smoother things go at sea.”
For over 100 years, the Navy has been conducting replenishments-at-sea, and for the dedicated and highly professional crew of Kaiser and MSC, it’s business as usual, but, for the ships of a carrier strike group such as the USS John C. Stennis, it’s the ability to stay on station and to carry on with the mission at hand whether deployment to a war zone, or exercising a capability. As our motto states, MSC Delivers!