By Travis Weger, MSCEURAF Public Affairs
Adm. Robert P. Burke, commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa (CNE-CNA) and commander, Allied Joint Forces Command (JFC) Naples, met with leadership Military Sealift Command Europe and Africa (MSCEURAF) and commander, Task Force 63 (CTF-63), in Naples, Italy, July 29.
During the meeting Burke highlighted the great work the team has completed over the past year, such as the reverse refueling-at-sea between USNS Supply (T-AOE 6), and Arleigh Burke class guided missile destroyers USS Donald Cook (DDG 75), USS Porter (DDG 78) and USS Roosevelt (DDG 80). During the replenishment, U.S. Navy ships resupplied Supply for the first time in MSC and 6th Fleet history.
Burke mentioned that this type of operation demonstrated proof-of-concept to the flexibility of the team and shipboard crews, especially during the COVID-19 environment.
"I have been watching the CTF-63 and MSC team from afar, even from my last job in Washington D.C., and I can tell you that it is not lost on leadership that this team is performing logistics miracles on a daily basis,” said Burke. “What this team does is often invisible to the rest of the Fleet, but it is absolutely essential to a global Navy like ours.”
Burke congratulated the CTF-63 supply team for winning the Adm. Stanley R. Arthur award in July 2019 for their support to the Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group during their first Dynamic Force Employment Deployment of 2018. This was the second time CTF-63 received the award, the first being in 2014.
Burke also highlighted the successes of the Air Logistics team’s “COVID Express,” which were flights delivering COVID-19 tests and medical supplies to the Naval Hospital in Ramstein, Germany. During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the team scheduled more than 60 flights around 6th Fleet Area of Operations using several different aircraft.
“I will be taking your work to the upcoming Fleet Commander's synch conference as the example of how to do it right,” said Burke.
In closing, Burke focused on the importance of logistics, expressing that setting the theater properly from a logistics perspective can be the difference between victory and defeat.
"Amateurs talk tactics,” said Burke, “but the pros talk logistics.”
MSCEURAF civilians and CTF-63 military members work side-by-side as one unified staff. While in theater, Military Sealift Command’s Naval Fleet Auxiliary Force and Special Mission ships report to CTF-63 along with cargo planes that support 6th Fleet and U.S. European Command logistics missions.