Sunday, 28 April 2013


Fiscal year 2002 began as USNS Comfort left Pier 92 in New York City having completed her mission of providing logistics support and comfort to the people working recovery efforts at the site of the World Trade Center disaster. As the year came to a close, the Pentagon’s external repairs were being completed in record time, life in mid-town Manhattan was returning to a semblance of normalcy, and a field in central Pennsylvania had become sacred ground.
The nation had endured much and, in the spirit of America, moved forward.
Military Sealift Command also moved forward this year, from the addition of new ships to the MSC fleet to the hard work that led to record high levels in recruiting and retention of our civil service mariners.
Two new 950-foot large, medium-speed, roll-on/roll-off ships, or LMSRs, were delivered to MSC – one for prepositioning and one for surge sealift. We also added another container ship on long-term charter to carry U.S. Air Force munitions in the Prepositioning Program.

Our combat logistics force continued to grow as well. We accepted the transfer of the second Supply-class fast combat support ship, USNS Arctic. When all four Supply-class ships have transferred, we will have saved the Navy more than $74 million annually in operating costs and returned a total of almost 2,000 Navy billets to the Fleet.
Crewing the combat logistics force ships is the responsibility of MSC’s Afloat Personnel Management Center. Their efforts this year exceeded recruitment goals for civilian mariners by 67 percent. Retention is also up, increasing the overall quality of our civilian mariner force. This is good news because MSC will need up to 2,500 new civil service mariners to crew transferring ships and the 12 new Lewis and Clark-class dry cargo/ammunition ships scheduled to deliver to MSC through FY 2010.
Vice Admiral David L. Brewer III
Above: Artist's rendering of the new Lewis and Clark-class dry cargo/ammunition ship, courtesy of National Steel and Shipbuilding Company of San Diego. The first ship is scheduled to deliver to MSC in fiscal year 2005.
We continue to save the Navy money and return Sailors to the fleet through innovative contracting solutions, such as using commercial helicopters for vertical replenishment missions on one of our combat stores ships, managing contracts for commercial harbor tug service in 20 ports around the United States and Guam and contracting for port services in Panama City and Pensacola, Fla., and Puerto Rico.
As a facilitator of transformation in sealift and maritime combat operations, we’re looking at and evaluating new technologies, such as high-speed vessels for transport of troops and equipment in the Western Pacific and for HSV test platforms for the mine warfare community and the warfare development commands of the Navy and Marine Corps.
HSV Westpac Express
Above: High-speed vessel Westpac Express, chartered by MSC to support III Marine Expeditionary Force in the Far East, waits pierside to load cargo and troops for her next voyage. Photo courtesy of Austal, Ltd.
MSC is also integrally involved with Seapower 21, the new initiative from the Chief of Naval Operations. Our Naval Fleet Auxiliary Force ships will be the combat logistics providers for the combat vessels of Sea Strike, sustaining your Navy’s offensive fire power. MSC Special Mission ships will provide survey data to chart the littorals for the Navy’s Sea Shield efforts, helping to defend your Navy’s assets. MSC’s Prepositioning Program is the basis of support for Sea Basing, underpinning the concepts of Maritime Prepositioning Force Future and afloat forward staging bases – sovereign platforms in strategic ocean areas, from which Navy and joint forces will sustain operations ashore.
Vice Admiral Brewer with visiting kids
Vice Adm. David L. Brewer III, USN, Commander, Military Sealift Command, meets with children of MSC headquarters employees during the command's Take Our Children To Work Day.
Photo by Susan Thomas.
As the Marine Corps looks at the Maritime Prepositioning Force Future, as the Army looks at changing requirements for a lighter, faster force and as the Navy looks at increased capabilities for underway replenishment, MSC is fully engaged in planning for the maritime solutions that will meet these new requirements.
Ultimately, it is MSC’s people – their quality and innovative approach to every challenge – that will maintain Military Sealift Command as the premiere provider of ocean transportation and a transformation facilitator for the Department of Defense.
Wherever, whenever, however – MSC delivers!