By Lt. Reagan Pescoso, NAVSUP FLC Sigonella Public Affairs
During Iwo Jima Amphibious Readiness Group’s (IWOARG’s) replenishment-at-sea (RAS) and its flagship’s logistics and maintenance period (LMP) April 23-27, 2021 at Naval Station (NAVSTA) Rota, Spain, Naval Supply Systems Command Fleet Logistics Center Sigonella (NAVSUP FLCSI) Site Rota and its NAVSTA mission partners performed their mission sets to enhance crewmembers’ morale and mission capability to support regional NATO Allies and partners as well as U.S. national security interests in Europe and Africa.
As the LMP was taking place, IWOARG’s crewmembers accessed quality-of-life amenities during their liberty period. MWR placed recreational tents at the installation softball field and provided tables and chairs for use by the IWOARG crew. The Navy Exchange (NEX) and NAVSTA’s Commissary offered exclusive use of the stores to IWOARG crewmembers. FLCSI Site Rota’s contracting team ensured all ship contracting requirements and last minute details were managed leading up to the IWOARG’s LMP.
“Contracts were awarded to procure Wi-Fi services for 3,000 personnel at pier 1 and the softball field and transportation vehicles for crewmembers,” said Jose Neto, FLCSI Site Rota supervisory contracting specialist. “Contracts for tug vehicles, and man-lift equipment were also awarded in support of ship repairs.”
“FLCSI’s Site Rota team and our NAVSTA mission partners wanted to assure that Iwo Jima’s logistics and maintenance period was memorable for the crew and that it set the tone for their support in theatre,” said Cmdr. Bert Phillips, FLCSI Site Rota site director. “It was important for all of NAVSTA’s supporting departments and tenant commands that these Warfighters were able to maintain their bubble-to-bubble integrity while still being able to have a sense of normalcy through meticulously planned liberty options.”
To prepare for the IWOARG’s RAS, FLCSI’s logisticians worked in early April to ensure IWOARG cargo, provisions and mail arrived securely and on-time at NAVSTA’s pier so they could be loaded on to USNS Supply (T-AOE 6) and USS Iwo Jima. Once loaded, the fast combat support ship met up with IWOARG’s ships to conduct the RAS.
“To securely deliver materials at the NAVSTA pier on time, our customs and transportation teams cleared ten food trucks loaded with 296 pallets of provisions and two Navy Exchange trucks for the Iwo Jima,” said Roberto Cordero-Morales, FLCSI Site Rota transportation officer.
FLCSI Site Rota’s postal team moved crewmembers’ mail originating from CONUS via supply chain routes, such as NAVSUP’s aerial mail terminal in Madrid, Spain.
“In total, FLCSI’s logisticians prepared 97 cargo pallets and 59 mail containers for USNS Supply,” Cordero-Morales added.
96 mail containers were loaded directly to USS Iwo Jima in April, added Susan Brandenburg, FLCSI Site Rota postal officer.
“With this high-visibility LMP and RAS, the cohesiveness of FLCSI Site Rota’s logistics support professionals reflected our true support capabilities no matter the challenges brought forth, while proudly representing our command,” added Lt. j.g. Genesis Manoza, FLCSI’s logistics support officer.
IWOARG is deployed to the U.S. Sixth Fleet area of operations with the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit’s command, logistics, aviation and ground combat elements. As the IWOARG was being re-supplied, FLCSI Fuels Division issued 33,000 gallons of jet fuel to four of the VMM 162’s AV-8B Harrier aircraft assigned to MEU’s aviation combat element while conducting training exercises with the Spanish Armada in the surrounding airspace.
“What a fantastic place for us to have been able to pull into during our deployment. We were able to get a lot of maintenance and repairs done pier-side” Capt. David Loo, commanding officer, USS Iwo Jima. “Folks from NAVSUP Fleet Logistics Center, the Forward Deployed RMC, and NAVFAC were standing by on the pier, ready to help and assist. Port Operations were more than ready to help support all of our pier-side facilities.”
NAVSTA Rota 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.
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.
Iwo Jima is operating in the European theater of operation in support of naval operations to maintain maritime stability and security in order to ensure access, deter aggression, and defend U.S., allied, and partner interests.
The combined IWOARG and 24th MEU have roughly 4,300 Sailors and Marines. The ARG-MEU is deployed to SIXTHFLT in support of regional NATO Allies and partners as well as U.S. national security interests in Europe and Africa.
The IWOARG consists of the Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7), Carter Hall (LSD 50) and the amphibious transport dock ship USS San Antonio (LPD 17). Embarked detachments for the Iwo Jima ARG include Amphibious Squadron Four, Fleet Surgical Team (FST) Six, Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 26, Tactical Air Control Squadron (TACRON) 21, Naval Beach Group (NBG) Two, Beach Master Unit (BMU) Two, Assault Craft Unit (ACU) Two and Four, and Sailors from Amphibious Construction Battalion (ACB) Two.
The 24th MEU mission is to provide the United States with a forward-deployed, amphibious force-in-readiness capable of executing missions across the full spectrum of combat and military operations other than war, and consists of four basic elements, the Command Element, Ground Combat Element, Air Combat Element and the Logistics Combat Element. The unit consists of a ground combat element, Battalion Landing Team (BLT) 1/8, a logistics combat element, Combat Logistics Battalion (CLB) 24, and an aviation combat element, Marine Medium Tilt-Rotor Squadron (VMM) 162 Reinforced.
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.