NEWS | Jan. 9, 2021

NAVSUP FLC Sigonella, industry partners overcome logistics challenges to support USS Mount Whitney

By NAVSUP FLC Sigonella Public Affairs

In mid-December, the U.S. military, civilian, and Italian national team members of Naval Supply Systems Command Fleet Logistics Center Sigonella (NAVSUP FLCSI) provided continuous logistics support and postal services during a month-long regular overhaul (ROH) to USS Mount Whitney (LCC 20) while the U.S. Sixth Fleet flagship was berthed at the San Giorgio del Porto in Genoa, Italy.

Vessels dry dock during ROH, allowing a ship to be out of the water for routine maintenance. During this maintenance period for Mount Whitney, FLCSI’s Logistics Support Charge (LSC) team delivered provisions, cargo, mail, and supplies for the ship’s crew.

“FLCSI constitutes the supply backbone for the Navy’s ships in our [Area of Responsibility],” said Chief Logistics Specialist Jerwin Guanga, FLCSI’s supply operations leading chief petty officer at Naval Support Activity, Naples. “While Mount Whitney was undergoing maintenance, the LSC team tracked the ship’s general cargo and high priority materials. We can even do grocery runs for the ship’s crew to maintain the integrity of the ‘bubble-to-bubble’ concept.”

Guanga added that FLCSI’s master logistics support representative, Sebastian Guercia, provided customs clearance, cargo transportation, re-packaging and crating, and fueling services.

Some aspects of FLCSI’s logistics support to Mount Whitney during the ROH were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“The pandemic challenged our ability to deliver mail between Mount Whitney and Naval Support Activity, Naples’ Fleet Mail Center due to travel constraints,” said Tim Callahan, FLCSI’s postal supervisor. “Our solution to this logistics challenge of keeping the mail moving for the crew was to utilize United States European Command Logistics Directorate (USEUCOM J4) Transportation Tenders to contract a local company to move mail to the ship in accordance with the regulations and policies of transporting U.S. mail.”

He added that FLCSI’s morale-boosting role was to process the crew’s mail and make registered mail deliveries.

Chad Hartley, FLCSI’s region postal advisor, said that travel restrictions within Italy also impacted customs clearance processes.

“As Italian regions switched from green to red or yellow, FLCSI’s contractor partner representative coordinated with Defense Logistics Agency and U.S. Customs representatives from Naples to negotiate a deal with Italian Customs officials in the Genoa region,” Hartley said. “This effort resulted in a preauthorization of shipments in advance. It expedited service reducing waiting times in Genoa from eight hours to about one hour. The approved clearance procedures allowed FLCSI to codify a support plan for use of San Giorgio del Porto in the future.”

In addition to postal services and LSC support, FLCSI delivered contracting services during Mount Whitney’s ROH. Read the full story here.

Mount Whitney, forward deployed to Gaeta, Italy, operates with a combined crew of U.S. Sailors and Military Sealift Command civil-service mariners in the U.S. Sixth Fleet area of operations in support of U.S. national security interests. Headquartered in Naples, Italy, Sixth Fleet conducts the full spectrum of joint and naval operations, often in concert with allied and interagency partners, in order to advance U.S. national interests and security and stability in Europe and Africa.

FLCSI is one of NAVSUP's eight globally-positioned logistics centers that provides for the full range of the fleet's military operations. FLCSI delivers solutions for logistics, business and support services to the Navy, Military Sealift Command, Joint and Allied Forces throughout Navy Region Europe, Africa, Central.