Rear Adm. Shannon: Sailing confidently into the future

Rear Adm. Thomas K. Shannon relieves Rear Adm. Mark Buzby as commander, Military Sealift Command, during a morning ceremony May 10 aboard USNS Spearhead (JHSV 1) at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek – Fort Story, Va. A graduate of Maine Maritime Academy, Shannon served his previous tour of duty as the commander of Carrier Strike Group One in San Diego. The following blog reflects his thoughts on assuming command at MSC.

It’s great to join Military Sealift Command! This is a job I’ve wanted from the moment I graduated from Maine Maritime Academy and began serving our country. Although I genuinely miss sea duty, I assure all of my MSC shipmates that I will visit as many of you as I can – as often as I can.

USNS Bridge (T-AOE 10) & USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70), Jan. 2012

USNS Bridge (T-AOE 10) & USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70), Jan. 2012

I try to be judicious in the use of the word “I.” As anyone who’s been around the waterfront for a while knows, it’s all about our mariners and sailors who operate our Navy’s MSC ships. You’re out there, around the world, every day, supporting our warfighters, as our Chief of Naval Operations says, “where it matters – when it matters.”

Whether you’re serving on a fleet replenishment oiler supporting a carrier strike group, or an oceanographic survey ship gathering critical data, you’re doing an important job. If your time afloat is spent on a prepositioning ship stocked with the vehicles, gear and ammunition for our Army, Navy, Air Force or Marine Corps, you are making a positive and important difference in our nation’s reaction time in contingencies. If you’re working on a rescue and salvage ship helping clear wreckage from a harbor or on a chartered float-on/float-off vessel hauling Navy mine hunters to the Middle East, you’re part of our global force for good, supporting our U.S. armed forces with everything they need to maintain readiness, win the battle or sustain the peace.

Our new joint, high-speed vessels operated by our CIVMAR crews offer fleet and geographical commanders exciting capabilities with their speed, shallow-draft and flexible mission loads, options that could make a difference in tight situations.

The presence of USS Ponce, our interim afloat forward staging base, in the Arabian Gulf brings our Navy a solid sense of confidence as a platform for a multitude of missions and a forward operating base. When USNS Montford Point and our other new mobile landing platform ships and their afloat forward staging base variants reach operational capability, they, too, will support and be part of our great Navy.

When we look at what our Military Sealift Command brings to the fight, we begin to understand the high level of trust we enjoy within our Navy. Our mariners crew our Navy ships that allow our combatant fleet to put warfighting first. MSC ships provide the combat logistics that keep our Navy operating forward, always ready.

Our Navy’s civilian mariners and uniformed sailors are the best on the planet. At MSC we’re on top of our game, and that’s where we’ll stay as we sail confidently into the future.

Thanks for your service,

Thomas K. Shannon

Rear Admiral, U.S. Navy

Commander, Military Sealift Command

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