November 17, 2018 – Military Sealift Command fleet replenishment oiler USNS Yukon (T-AO 202) conducted the first underway replenishment at sea (UNREP) with one of the Navy’s newest guided missile destroyers USS Zumwalt (DDG 1000) off the coast of Southern California earlier this week.
The UNREP operation was a proof of concept which allowed the crew of Zumwalt the opportunity to receive fuel and to test the cargo fuel system aboard Zumwalt in a real world operational, YUKON environment. In addition, the UNREP gave Zumwalt the reassurance that it is stable alongside an oiler during cargo operations and what to expect such as how well the lineups are for the UNREP stations on both ships and phone and distance lines needed for communications and moving cargo.
Prior to getting underway, Zumwalt’s crew had trained for the operation in the controlled environment pier side. Once at sea, the two ships practiced the operation the day before in a series of “Leap Frogs” where the ships would maneuver into the UNREP position, but without extending fuel hoses or passing fuel. These practices allowed the two ships to address any issues before the actual operation took place where Yukon delivered nearly 47,000 gallons of diesel ship fuel.
“USS Zumwalt is a brand new ship design, the uncertainty was knowing how she’d react in close quarters underway and the dynamics between both vessels Zumwalt approached, stayed alongside and broke away from us,” explained Capt. Dan Glazier, Yukon’s civil service master.
According to Glazier, training, calm sea states and the overall professionalism of the crews from both ships ensured a successful operation with no impact to the environment during the fuel transfer.
“The crews of both ships did an outstanding job! UNREP was flawless.” said Glazier. “It was interesting seeing such a unique ship make approaches as they held ship handling training. We were honored to be the first ship to give Zumwalt its first UNREP. She’s a magnificent ship and sure adds a whole new concept in sea power projection. We were honored to be part of it!”