Military Sealift Command’s fleet replenishment oiler USNS Joshua Humphreys (T-AO 188) returns to Naval Station Norfolk, Aug. 10, following a four-month deployment to U.S. Sixth Fleet’s area of responsibility (AOR).

Supporting the Sixth Fleet’s full range of maritime operations and theater security missions, Joshua Humphreys had several noteworthy accomplishments, beginning with its participation in Gerald R. Ford (GRF) Carrier Strike Group’s (CSG-4) composite training unit exercise (COMPTUEX) in April. During this four-week evolution, Joshua Humphreys provided five at-sea replenishments to three Navy ships. Likewise, Joshua Humphreys provided underway replenishment services to USS McFaul (DDG 74), located off the coast of Portugal, during McFaul’s participation in Exercise Formidable Shield 2023 – A biennial integrated air and missile defense (IAMD) exercise, in May, that allowed McFaul to remain on station, projecting power, throughout the entire exercise. During the exercise, Joshua Humphreys also conducted a “Proof-of-Concept” CONSOL (consolidated cargo replenishment at sea) with the American Flag Commercial Style Tanker Stena Polaris. This is a new water-space battle plan, within the MSC enterprise, which is to have a United States Naval Combat Logistics Force ship receive fuel offshore for transfer to customers at sea.

In June, Joshua Humphreys, once again, successfully executed the safe transfer of 538,334 gallons of jet fuel, 427,029 gallons of diesel fuel, and 16 pallets of general stores to GRFCSG. This evolution occurred within a 24-hour time span – during Baltic Operations (BALTOPS) 2023, which provided a unique training opportunity for the fleet to strengthen its combined response capability critical to preserving the freedom of navigation and security in the Baltic Sea. In addition to supporting GRFCSG, Joshua Humphreys was also instrumental in providing on-time replenishment services to the USS Mount Whitney (LCC 20), RFA Mounts Bay (L3008), and USS Paul Ignatius (DDG 117).

While deployed, the Joshua Humphreys’ crew had the distinct pleasure of working with the crew of Frankfurt am Main (A1412), the second ship of the Berlin-class replenishment ships of the German Navy. Together, the two ship crews worked side-by-side to strengthen their interoperability.

Joshua Humphreys’ Ship Master Capt. David K. Murrin said he could not be prouder of his crew’s accomplishments. “I am incredibly proud of my crew and the excellence they achieved while conducting high risk, high visibility mission sets during this deployment. Our officers and crew advanced maritime services at sea, served as ambassadors ashore, and seamlessly integrated with our NATO allies and partners. They embraced our mantra of “Complete Service to the U.S. and Allied Navy” and reflected superbly on the United States and the Military Sealift Command. Murrin relieved Capt. Patrick T. Christian as the ship’s master during a mid-deployment change of command in Tallinn, Estonia, June 6.

Although the Joshua Humphreys’ crew had a busy logistical schedule throughout the 120-day deployment, they did have the opportunity to experience and appreciate the countries of Scotland, Estonia, Poland, Sweden, and Denmark. While in Stockholm, Naval Attaché Officer Capt. J.P. “Skull” Greene invited Capt. Murrin, Chief Mate Thomas C. Pace, Cargo Mate John T. Fitzgerald, and Public Affairs Officer Larry J. Gonzales to the Royal Palace for a meet and greet. Fitzgerald said he felt honored when he received his invitation and was in awe of the size and grandeur of the Stockholm Palace, which is one of the oldest castles still serving as an official royal residence with more than 600 rooms spread across 11 floors. “Being a part of an international momentous day was an experience of a lifetime – one that I will never forget.” While at the palace, members of the Swedish Armed Forces and Stockholm’s city government presented the crew with a plaque to demonstrate their appreciation of USNS Joshua Humphreys.