MSC: Top 12 of 2012

#1 MSC supports the warfighter

Military Sealift Command is an integral, cost effective and innovative element of the U.S. Navy. Every day our ships and their highly trained crews are ready to meet any challenge to support our nation’s armed forces, performing a broad variety of vital missions for the Navy, DOD and other federal agencies.

In 2012, MSC added more than 500 civilian mariners to the sea-going team. These dedicated civil servants make our mission possible: they operate forward, around the world, providing mission-critical support to warfighters everywhere. To learn more about jobs at MSC, please call 1-877-JOBS-MSC or visit our website and start the process.

#2 Bold Alligator 2012

The Feb. 9 shipboard landing and subsequent takeoff of a U.S. Marine Corp MV-22 Osprey from USNS Robert E. Peary (T-AKE 5) marked the first time an Osprey operated with an MSC ship underway at sea. The flight served as a proof of concept that the T-AKE is a viable platform for Osprey aircraft supporting Marine missions.

Five other MSC ships also showcased seabasing capabilities during the exercise, the largest joint and multinational amphibious assault exercise in a decade.

 #3 Operation Deep Freeze

MSC-chartered tanker MT Maersk Peary and MSC-chartered dry cargo ship MV Green Wave successfully delivered food, fuel and other supplies to McMurdo Station in early 2012 as part of Operation Deep Freeze, the resupply mission currently led by Joint Task Force – Support Forces Antarctica. Two MSC ships have made the trip each year since 1955, when the remote National Science Foundation outpost was established, to deliver vital cargo such as food and fuel, and a return trip is being planned for early 2013.

#4 Africa Partnership Station 2012

HSV 2 Swift, a high-speed vessel under long-term charter to MSC, served as the flag ship vessel for U.S. Navy’s Africa Partnership Station 2012, an international security cooperation initiative aimed at strengthening global maritime partnerships through training and collaborative activities in order to improve maritime safety and security in Africa. During the year-long mission, Swift and its crew served as a mission-critical element, providing a versatile, agile platform for a variety of subject-matter expert exchanges with host nations.

#5 USS Ponce (AFSB(I) 15)

MSC refitted Ponce – a long-serving amphibious transport dock ship – for new service in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility as the Navy’s first interim Afloat Forward Staging Base.

After a quick but intense refit period from mid-February to mid-April, the ship’s combined crew of CIVMARs and uniformed Navy personnel received their new commanding officer and got underway June 1.

Ponce demonstrated its capabilities during the International Mine Countermeasures Exercise 2012, Sept. 16-27. During the exercise Ponce acted as the command ship, staging people and equipment and providing support to surface ship and mine countermeasures operations. Additionally, Ponce embarked, launched and recovered helicopters, unmanned aerial vehicles and small craft.

 #6 USNS Grapple and Southern Partnership Station

Not everyone gets to support divers as they practice intercepting cocaine shipments or help repair international heritage sites, but MSC civil service mariners do!

The CIVMAR crew members of USNS Grapple (T-ARS 53) and embarked Navy divers from Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit 2 participated in Southern Partnership Station 2012.

Among other highlights, CIVMARs and Sailors helped restore a historical cemetery gate in the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago honoring Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry, the War of 1812 naval hero.

#7 RIMPAC 2012

Five MSC ships provided logistical support June 29 to Aug. 3 to  participants in Rim of the Pacific 2012, the world’s largest international maritime exercise.

On July 17 and 18, USNS Kaiser (T-AO 187) made history as it delivered 900,000 gallons of a 50-50 blend of advanced biofuels and traditional petroleum-based fuel to the USS Nimitz (CVN 68) carrier strike group. The biofuel delivery was part of the Navy’s Great Green Fleet demonstration, which allowed the Navy to test, evaluate and demonstrate the cross-platform utility and functionality of advanced biofuels in an operational setting.

#8 USNS Mercy and Pacific Partnership 2012

USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) steamed more than 20,000 miles – nearly the distance of circling the equator – to Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Cambodia as the lead vessel for Pacific Partnership 2012, a nearly five-month humanitarian and civic assistance mission that resulted in medical treatment for nearly 50,000 people.

Seventy CIVMARs provided Mercy’s operation and navigation during the mission. Since the ship is too large for pierside visits, mariners also operated small boats to transport patients and personnel between ship and shore.


USNS PFC Eugene A. Obregon served as MSC’s cargo platform for Joint-Logistics-Over-the-Shore, also known as JLOTS, in Fort Story, Va., during the summer of 2012. Operated by civilian contract mariners, Obregon served as the prepositioned ship that allowed troops from the Army’s 7th Sustainment Brigade and Navy Beach Group Two to test their capability to move cargo from ship to shore in event of a natural disaster or combat situation, where ports are damaged or unavailable.

Sponsored annually by U.S. Transportation Command, JLOTS demonstrates the real-world capabilities of our military to transport supplies to shore from ships at sea. The exercise is a joint effort among the U.S. Navy, Army, and contracted Military Sealift Command personnel.

#10 USNS Cesar Chavez (T-AKE 14)

MSC accepted delivery of the last dry cargo/ammunition ship in the T-AKE class, USNS Cesar Chavez (T-AKE 14), in October 2012. The ship, which was christened May 5 in San Diego, honors Cesar Chavez, an American farm worker, labor leader and civil rights activist who co-founded the National Farm Workers Association, which later became the United Farm Workers. He is well known for his use of non-violent tactics that made the farm workers struggle a moral cause with nationwide support. T-AKEs are the newest class of Combat Logistics Force ships built for MSC. They replaced MSC’s aging, single-mission supply ships such Mars- and Sirius-class combat stores ships as they reached the end of their service lives.

#11 MPSRON One disestablished

Maritime Prepositioning Ship (MPS) Squadron One was part of MSC’s Maritime Prepositioning Force, a group of ships specially configured to strategically position supplies for the U.S. Marine Corps at sea. During its lifetime, the squadron was home to a number of prepositioning ships in the Mediterranean Sea throughout the years and was disestablished at the end of September 2012, leaving two MPS Squadrons still operating forward to support the Marine Corps. These ships are laden with a variety of Marine Corps equipment and supplies, including tanks, ammunition, food, hospital equipment, petroleum products and spare parts – ready for rapid delivery ashore when needed. Each squadron carries sufficient equipment and supplies to sustain more than 15,650 Marine Expeditionary Force personnel for up to 30 days.

#12 New ships: MLP &JHSV

MSC accepted delivery of USNS Spearhead (JHSV 1) in December, and also witnessed the first float-out of MLP-1 USNS Montford Point in November. JHSV and MLP are two the Navy’s newest ship classes designed to support the warfighter and will be owned and operated by MSC.

Photo courtesy of Austal USA

Photo courtesy of General Dynamics/NASSCO


Farewell, 2012, and thanks for the memories! MSC will continue to support warfighter readiness and the ability to operate forward in this new year, and for years to come.

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