By Travis Weger, MSCEURAF Public Affairs
Military Sealift Command Supply-Class fast combat support ship USNS Supply (T-AOE 6) completed an exercise with Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Porter (DDG 80), USS Roosevelt (DDG 80), P-8A Poseidon from Patrol Squadron (VP) 4 and Italian Navy frigate ITS Federico Martinengo (F 596) in the Mediterranean Sea, April 23.
Supply provided support to ships through rapid refueling and replenishment-at-sea while U.S. and Italian Navy ships conducted training to enhance interoperability between the two nations.
Prior to the photo exercise, Martinengo requested fuel from Supply. One of the primary missions of Supply is to provide fuel to not only U.S. ships, but allied ships as well.
“Martinengo was in need of fuel and Supply was happy to provide,” said Second Officer Tegan Church. “We always enjoy working with foreign ships since their setup is different than our fleet.”
Church explained that Supply’s crew wanted to complete a refueling-at-sea with Martinengo to help enhance crew proficiency on refueling on different types of setups. She mentioned that no ship conducts a RAS the same, so performing these types of evolutions are beneficial to train the crew.
“It’s always nice to learn more,” said Church, “that helps us support more vessels in the future.”
The RAS went smoothly, according to Church.
“Their crew was professional, efficient and familiar with the process, making a simple evolution,” said Church. “It is always a pleasure to work with our NATO allies.”
The U.S. and Italy share strong relations, they are steadfast and active transatlantic NATO partners.
“Operations like these demonstrates Italy and the United States’ commitment to both our bilateral relationship and to the North Atlantic Treaty,” said Commodore, Military Sealift Command Europe and Africa (MSCEURAF) and Commander, Task Force 63 (CTF-63) Capt. Frank Okata. “It also allows them to stay at sea, build proficiency and remained focused on the mission.”
Supply’s to replenishment of these ships at sea not only provided greater flexibility for the ships to remain underway and on station for extended periods of time, but also provided additional measures to keep crews healthy during the COVID-19 global pandemic by eliminating potential exposures to the virus while in port.
Supply is one of MSC’s largest combat logistic ships. It delivers petroleum products, ammunition, food and other cargo to customer ships. The crew can move millions of gallons of fuel and a few hundred pallets daily to multiple ships.
“The crew onboard USNS Supply are what makes supporting these types of ships possible,” said Captain John Pritchett, Master of Supply. “Without their hard work and dedication, we wouldn’t be able to accomplish even a fraction of this. It is what we are here for.”