USNS Leroy Grumman Completes Deployment in Mediterranean

MC3 Weston Jones, reporting from Europe, writes on the final days of the six-month deployment of the USNS Leroy Grumman, as she supported U.S. 6th Fleet in the Mediterranean Sea.

The U.S. Navy’s duty oiler in the Mediterranean Sea, fleet replenishment oiler USNS Leroy Grumman (T-AO 195), is currently finishing a six-month deployment to the Mediterranean Sea supplying the U.S. Navy and its allies with fuel and supplies at sea, Dec. 11, 2014.

Grumman, a Military Sealift Command (MSC) ship that operates out of Norfolk, Va., provides underway replenishments-at-sea so warships can stay on station longer without having to pull into port for fuel and supplies.

Grumman, a Henry J. Kaiser class-oiler, was built at Avondale Shipyards, New Orleans, La. Grumman’s keel was laid down June 7, 1987, and the ship was commissioned August 2, 1989. Grumman’s crew currently consists of 89 civil service mariners, also called CIVMARs.

While operating in 6th Fleet, Grumman works out of Augusta Bay, Sicily, and Souda Bay.

“MSC ships and its CIVMARs play an integral role in keeping the fleet supplied,” said Grumman’s civil service master Capt. Richard Gray. “MSC ships are a valuable asset to the U.S. Navy and its allies, keeping them on station, and making forward presence possible.”

Grumman contains five fuel stations and two cargo stations. Its main purpose is to refuel ships and deliver cargo and supplies to warships underway.

Because Grumman has receiving stations on both its port and starboard sides, it can provide underway replenishment to two ships at one time.

During an underway replenishment, ships pull alongside Grumman. The CIVMARs aboard Grumman shoot lines across to the customer ships, and the ships tether together at a distance. Once connected, they cruise at the same speed. Fuel hoses are suspended from the Grumman to the warship for refueling. Simultaneously, pallets of cargo are transferred via line connected between the ships.

The amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5) performs a replenishment-at-sea with the Military Sealift Command fleet replenishment oiler USNS Leroy Grumman (T-AO 195) as seen from the amphibious transport dock ship USS Mesa Verde (LPD 19).

The amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5) performs a replenishment-at-sea with the Military Sealift Command fleet replenishment oiler USNS Leroy Grumman (T-AO 195) as seen from the amphibious transport dock ship USS Mesa Verde (LPD 19).

In addition to the receiving stations, Grumman has capabilities for conducting vertical replenishment-at-sea with its on board helicopter pad. Helicopters hover above the ships’ flight deck while CIVMARs run below the aircraft to attach prepared cargo pallets for delivery to Grumman’s customers.

“MSC ships play a large role in the U.S. Navy’s sustainment at sea,” said Second Officer Patrick Jones, the CIVMAR operations chief aboard USNS Leroy Grumman. “We provide the provisions and fuel. We help keep ships on station longer, so they don’t have to go into port for fuel and supplies. We can conduct an underway replenishment for a few hours with a ship, and it can go right back on station and still have that forward presence.”

During this rotation as 6th Fleet’s Mediterranean Sea duty oiler, Grumman has conducted 45 underway replenishments for the U.S. Navy and allied navies including Germany, Italy and Spain.

“The crew’s performance has been outstanding,” said Gray. “We’ve delivered all cargo and fuel needed without incident. Everything that was supposed to go across, went across.”

 

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