By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Kyle Steckler
The Spearhead-class expeditionary fast transport ship USNS Carson City (T-EPF 7) departed the Black Sea Aug. 30 after conducting various operations in the area.
Carson City entered the Black Sea Aug. 15 after transiting the Dardanelles and Bosporus Straits.
“While in the Black Sea, we did what Carson City does best,” said Ship’s Capt. Jonathan Keffer, civilian master of Carson City. “We provided rapid transport of military equipment and personnel to new ports. We’re in the business of fast transport and top-notch hospitality as we get our passengers and cargo to their destination. The crew of Carson City did that in spades. I’m very proud of them as we conclude this mission.”
After entering the Black Sea, the ship made a scheduled port visit to Poti, Georgia, where it loaded more than 50 U.S. Army Soldiers and several hundred tons of vehicles and supplies from Bravo Company, 2nd Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division. The ship was back underway within 12 hours.
“The loading of the unit’s cargo went as smoothly as anyone could ask for,” said civil service mariner Roshenda Josephs, chief mate aboard Carson City and supervisor of all cargo operations on board. “The Soldiers were efficient and safe. They made my job easy.”
After departing Poti, the ship headed for Constanta, Romania, to drop off the first half of 1st Cavalry Division then back to Poti to pick up the second half.
"It's faster, and the hospitality was the best we've had in Europe; the food, entertainment, everything,” said U.S. Army Pfc. Angel Beyerlin, assigned to Bravo Company, 2nd Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division.
After delivering all of its personnel and cargo, the crew of the Carson City were able to take a few days to rest and explore Romania. While there, the ship hosted a tour for Romanian navy sailors.
On Aug. 27, Carson City pulled into Varna, Bulgaria, for a scheduled three-day visit. The ship hosted a press event and tour for Bulgarian media as well as a tour and luncheon for several senior Bulgarian military members including Bulgarian Flotilla Adm. Malen Chubekov, fleet operations admiral for the Bulgarian navy.
“Carson City was thrilled to host Flotilla Admiral Chubenkov and media from Bulgaria,” said Cmdr. Steve Weydert, officer in charge of the military detachment aboard Carson City. “Everyone was very kind, very courteous. It was truly a pleasure hosting them.”
The U.S. Navy routinely operates in the Black Sea consistent with the Montreux Convention and international law.
Carson City is the seventh of 12 planned expeditionary fast transport ships. There are currently nine in Military Sealift Command’s inventory. All EPFs are 338-foot-long aluminum catamarans complete with a 20,000-square-foot reconfigurable mission bay area. It also boasts a flight deck, a slewing stern ramp for vehicle access to the mission deck and seating for 312 passengers. All EPFs are designed to transport 600 short tons of military cargo 1,200 nautical miles an average speed of 35 knots.
Military Sealift Command is the leading provider of ocean transportation for the Navy and the Department of Defense, operating approximately 125 ships daily around the world. MSC ships sustain U.S. war fighting forces and deliver specialized maritime services in support of national security objectives in peace and war.
U.S. 6th Fleet, headquartered in Naples, Italy, conducts the full spectrum of joint and naval opeations, often in concert with allied, joint and interagency partners, in order to advance U.S. national interests and security and stability in Europe and Africa.