By NAVSUP FLCSI Public Affairs
The Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group (IKE CSG) is a multiplatform team of ships, aircraft and more than 5,000 Sailors, capable of carrying out a wide variety of missions around the globe. It brings multi-mission capable platforms to the U.S. Sixth Fleet area of operations with strike, ballistic missile defense, and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities.
Last March, the IKE was the first aircraft carrier to conduct a logistics and maintenance period (LMP) at Naval Support Activity (NSA) Souda Bay, Greece, during the COVID-19 pandemic.
During IKE’s LMP and a replenishment-at-sea (RAS), logistics teams assigned to Naval Supply Systems Command Fleet Logistics Center Sigonella (NAVSUP FLCSI) joined efforts with multiple NSA Souda Bay departments and tenant commands to deliver critical parts, mail and provisions.
“Our Supply Department’s objective was to replenish Eisenhower while preserving the crew's bubble-to-bubble liberty as much as possible,” Lt. Cmdr. Dale Lessner, NAVSUP FLCSI Souda Bay, site director. “To accomplish this, much of their cargo and provisions were received in Souda Bay and were delivered to the fast combat support ship USNS Arctic (T-AOE 8) later.”
Once loaded with supplies at NSA Souda Bay, USNS Arctic (T-AOE 8) delivered the supplies to the IKE CSG at-sea.
“The transportation and delivery coordination of pallets loaded with provisions had to be carefully choreographed in order to support the Arctic's limited time pier side and throughput constraints at the local customs office,” Lessner added. “The key to the timely movement of these pallets was our team’s ability to obtain the sufficient amount of packing materials necessary to handle an entire CSG's worth of mail and have it ready to go.”
Lessner added that his team’s close coordination with the Navy Exchange Command was critical for delivering ship store items to Arctic before operations were halted by Greece’s national holiday on March 25.
While in Souda Bay the IKE CSG received supplies and enjoyed a few days of liberty on NSA Souda Bay Fleet Landing. FLCSI Site Souda Bay’s contracting personnel procured Wi-Fi access and other quality-of-life services that were used by attendees.
“The Wi-Fi bandwidth had to accommodate an estimated 4,800 simultaneous users in attendance at the Fleet Landing Event,” said Robert DeAngelis, FLCSI Site Souda Bay’s supervisory contracting specialist.
Besides ensuring Wi-Fi service, DeAngelis and his contracting services team bid out contracts for vendors who provided supplies like tents with heaters, ice coolers, portable electric generators, chairs, tables, and lighting carts to keep the pier lit at night.
In addition to NSA Souda Bay, FLCSI supported the RAS from strategic locations across the U.S. Sixth Fleet area of operations, like at NSA Naples, Italy, NAS Sigonella, Sicily, and Naval Station Rota (NAVSTA), Spain. FLCSI postal professionals processed crewmembers' mail through the installations’ fleet mail centers (FMCs) and through aerial mail terminals (AMTs) located in Athens, Greece; Rome, Italy; and Madrid, Spain.
“For much of March, hundreds of our postal professionals moved tens of thousands of pounds of mail that originated from the U.S. aboard USNS Arctic,” said Vic Gonzalez, FLCSI’s regional postal program manager. “This herculean logistics feat was possible because of the diligent coordination and precision planning between FLCSI’s logistics professionals and our mission partners, like NAVSUP N434 Mail Routers, Joint Military Postal Activity in Chicago, Commander Task Force, 63 and U.S. Sixth Fleet N4 staff.”
Gonzalez added that his postal teams prepared nearly 500 pallets of mail weighing more than 133,000 pounds, 75 percent of which was loaded onto USNS Arctic while moored at NAS Sigonella.
Lt. j.g. Genesis Manoza, FLCSI’s Logistics Support Officer at NAS Sigonella , said FLCSI’s Transportation Division coordinated customs clearance of nine truckloads of provisions; FMC personnel processed 13 trucks loaded with 177 mail-filled triwall containers; The Fleet Support team ensured a mishap-free load out evolution of more than 450 pallets containing provisions worth more than $1.1 million.
"Per NAVSUP’s mission, our aim with these deliveries was to ensure the highest levels of warfighting readiness for the CSG crewmembers,” Manoza said. “All logistics personnel involved showed amazing teamwork and dedication to completing their jobs on schedule."
FLCSI is one of NAVSUP’s eight globally-positioned fleet logistics centers that provides for the full range of the Fleet’s military operations. The command delivers solutions for logistics, business and support services to the Navy, Military Sealift Command, Joint and Allied Forces throughout Navy Region Europe, Africa, Central.
NSA Souda Bay is an operational ashore base that enables U.S., allied, and partner nation forces to be where they are needed when they are needed to ensure security and stability in Europe, Africa, and Southwest Asia.
Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group is a multiplatform team of ships, aircraft and more than 5,000 Sailors, capable of carrying out a wide variety of missions around the globe. The Navy provides a ready, flexible force capable of responding to a broad range of contingencies.
Deploying ships and aircraft of the strike group include flagship USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69); Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruisers USS Monterey (CG 61); Destroyer Squadron 22 ships include Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Mitscher (DDG 57), USS Laboon (DDG 58), USS Mahan (DDG 72), and USS Thomas Hudner (DDG 116).
Squadrons of Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 3, embarked on Eisenhower include the "Fighting Swordsmen" of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 32, "Gunslingers" of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 105, "Wildcats" of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 131, "Rampagers" of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 83; "Dusty Dogs" of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 7; "Swamp Foxes" of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 74; "Screwtops" of Airborne Command and Control Squadron (VAW) 123; "Zappers" of Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 130, and a detachment from Fleet Logistics Support Squadron (VRC) 40 "Rawhides."
U.S. Sixth Fleet, headquartered in Naples, Italy, 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.