By Sarah E. Burford
MSCPAC Public Affairs
The sight of Military Sealift Command’s signature yellow, blue, grey and black ship stack stripes showed that MSC was on station and ready, as international attention focused on Hawaii for the world’s largest international maritime exercise.
Five MSC ships supported Rim of the Pacific, or RIMPAC, held June 29 to Aug. 3. These ships provided logistical support to exercise participants, which this year comprised 22 nations, 40 surface ships, six submarines, more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel.
RIMPAC offers a uniquely complex and challenging multinational environment for forces to hone their skills. RIMPAC 2012, the twenty-third since 1971, took place in and around the Hawaiian Islands. Participating forces exercised a wide range of capabilities during the exercise, including disaster relief and maritime security operations, sea control, amphibious operations, explosive ordnance disposal operations, diving operations and salvage operations.
USNS Henry J. Kaiser (T-AO 187), USNS Yukon (T-AO 202) and USNS Matthew Perry (T-AKE 9) delivered the fuel to power the surface and aviation forces, as well as the groceries that sustained ships’ crews during the exercise’s underway period. During 27 days, and working over 50,000 square miles of ocean, MSC ships provided 106 underway replenishments. In total, the ships delivered more than 9.8 million gallons of diesel fuel, more than 1.8 million gallons of aviation fuel and nearly 2,000 pallets of food and supplies.
MSC is known for its logistics support to ships at sea, but RIMPAC demonstrated the sheer volume of support of which MSC is capable. To put things into perspective, a duty oiler in the Southern California area of operations, like Yukon, averages about 145 underway replenishments in a six month period. During RIMPAC, the three MSC ships completed 106 UNREPs over a four-week period of time. For Kaiser, Yukon and Perry, this meant multiple replenishments each day, some taking many hours to complete.
“This is pretty much how it’s been,” said Capt. Joseph Trogdlin, Kaiser’s civil service master, as he observed the sixth UNREP that day from the ship’s bridge. “We started at first light and, in some cases, went late into the night. It was the only way to service everyone who needed us.”