Cargo Afloat Rig Teams and their role in Military Sealift Command

The following blog was written by Boatswain’s Mate 2nd Class Michael Branch, a member of Cargo Afloat Rig Team III. In the blog, Branch explains how a CART works, and how his team completed an underway replenishment mission with a fleet replenishment oiler that operates off the West Coast.

 What is CART III?

Cargo Afloat Rig Team III is a program in the United States Navy Reserve that augments Military Sealift Command. CART III’s mission is to augment our Navy’s Combat Logistics Force ships with fully trained and certified personnel in support of naval task forces and multi-national task force operations. CART III – which consists of four geographically separated detachments across California – is the west coast contingent of the overall CART program. CART I and CART II are home-based on the east coast.

Members of CART III prepare for an underway replenishment.

Members of CART III prepare for an underway replenishment aboard USNS Henry J. Kaiser (T-AO 187).


What has CART III done recently?

In early September, CART III had Sailors aboard USNS Henry J. Kaiser (T-AO 187), the Southern California duty oiler, conducting underway replenishments at sea with surface combatants attached to Destroyer Squadron 21, Pacific Fleet. During a two-week annual training event, CART III embarked 13 Sailors and one MUTC instructor to augment the ship’s personnel. CART Sailors integrated with the ship’s crew of civil service mariners to assist in shipboard functions including day-to-day equipment maintenance and underway replenishments. While aboard, CART Sailors re-qualified in MSC’s training requirements and conducted Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist qualification training. CART’s primary mission is to provide UNREP support to CLF ships in order to maintain operational readiness and sustainability.


So, how does a CART work aboard a CLF ship like Kaiser? While conducting UNREP evolutions CART Sailors worked as members of a rig ream, operating as rig captain, winch booth operator, signalman and line handlers. During replenishments, the rig captain oversaw the safe and successful transfer of diesel fuel marine to the Navy destroyers. With overall responsibility, the rig captain worked with the signalman to effectively communicate with both the receiving ship and the winch booth operator. This communication ensured the safe hook-up and connection of the highline to transfer the fueling probe. The line handlers on station worked to tend the messenger, paying out and hauling in the line as necessary.


What’s it like out there?


Although the sun is out and it was partly cloudy, the weather was hotter then we all thought it would be. The 30-minute stand-by time was announced and all members of the Rig Team prepared to disconnect the fueling hoses and safely detention the highline and bring the rig back. With the UNREP complete, the receiving ship plays the customary music that traditionally signals another successful UNREP. MSC’s mission is to keep the United States Navy ready at all times, and CART III stands “Always Ready” to support and assist the Navy in its combat operational readiness.



CART III Sailors work with CIVMAR counterparts during the UNREP.

CART III Sailors work with CIVMAR counterparts during the UNREP.






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