Navy’s first JHSV departs on maiden deployment

USNS Spearhead (JHSV 1) departed today from Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story, Va., bound for the U.S. European Command and U.S. Africa Command areas of responsibility through May 2014. There, the ship will operate in the Mediterranean Sea before sailing to Africa’s west coast. It will then deploy to the U.S. Southern Command area of responsibility to participate in maritime operations through the end of fiscal year 2014. The following blog post by the mission commander, Navy Capt. Marc Lederer, highlights some of the ship’s unique capabilities.

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va.  (Jan. 16, 2014)  The Navy's first joint high-speed vessel, USNS Spearhead (JHSV 1), departs Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story for a scheduled deployment. (U.S. Navy photo by MC3 Andrew Schneider/)

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (Jan. 16, 2014) The Navy’s first joint high-speed vessel, USNS Spearhead (JHSV 1), departs Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story for a scheduled deployment. (U.S. Navy photo by MC3 Andrew Schneider/)

Welcome aboard USNS Spearhead, the first of 10 planned joint high-speed vessels. As mission commander during this vessel’s maiden deployment, it is both my honor and my responsibility to oversee all our military personnel and make sure we represent the best of our Navy.

I know I speak for Spearhead’s civil service master – Capt. Douglas Casavant – our chief engineer – Joe Semon – our talented crew of civil service mariners and our military personnel when I say that we are excited to see what Spearhead can do. This mission to EUCOM and AFRICOM will directly support our nation’s commitment to presence and partnerships in these regions, and will also allow our Navy to capture lessons learned. 

And we will learn a lot as Spearhead stretches its legs, so to speak. The JHSV class provides high-speed, agile-lift capability to transport operationally ready units to small, austere ports. Our 20,000-square foot mission bay can quickly be reconfigured for a wide range of missions, including maneuver and sustainment, humanitarian assistance and special operations support. The ship’s flight deck is certified to handle a wide variety of aircraft, including a CH-53 Super Stallion.

(U.S. Navy photo by MC3 Andrew Schneider)

(U.S. Navy photo by MC3 Andrew Schneider)

Like any of our Navy’s ships, one of Spearhead’s real strengths is its crew. Twenty-two civil service mariners serve under Casavant’s command; skilled maritime professionals who bring years – sometimes decades – of hands-on seagoing experience to the job. In my capacity as commanding officer of Military Sealift Command’s Navy Reserve Unit, I’ve learned about the professionalism and dedication CIVMARs bring to the table. Spearhead’s crew is second to none.

Undoubtedly, this ship is fast – we can move 600 tons of equipment and more than 300 personnel 1,200 nautical miles at a sustained speed of 35 knots.  The engineering know-how behind the Spearhead Class of JHSVs represents an exciting new chapter in warfighter support, and we look forward to showcasing what this ship can do during our deployment.

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