NAVSUP, mission partners in Europe support Kearsarge ARG’S logistics and maintenance periods
By NAVSUP FLC Sigonella Public Affairs
NAVAL AIR STATION SIGONELLA, Italy - Naval Supply Systems Command Fleet Logistics Center Sigonella’s (NAVSUP FLCSI) logisticians and contracting specialists, along with their mission partners, coordinated the maintenance scheduling and procurement and delivery of repair parts for several ships assigned to the Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group (ARG), in July 2022.
The Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) completed a logistics and maintenance period in Brest, France, while Whidbey Island-class dock landing ship USS Gunston Hall (LSD 44) and San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock USS Arlington (LPD 24) underwent mid-deployment voyage repair (MDVR) periods in Copenhagen, Denmark and Rijeka, Croatia, respectively.
An MDVR is a maintenance period that allows U.S. ships to complete corrective and preventative maintenance that cannot be accomplished at sea. MDVRs involve performing repairs so that ships remains fully mission capable throughout their deployment.
In preparation for Gunston Hall's and Arlington's MDVRs, NAVSUP FLCSI's Ship Repair Division (Code 200) procured repair parts that were critical to ensuring the on-time completion of the maintenance efforts conducted for the ships. A part of the command's contracting department (Code 200), the Ship Repair Division's mission is to support repairs for ships that are homeported in, and currently deployed to, the U.S. Sixth Fleet area of operations.
"Successfully procuring repair parts and services for the MDVRs was the result of the close working relationship between NAVSUP FLCSI's Ship Repair Division and Forward Deployed Regional Maintenance Center, our key mission partner while supporting ship maintenance periods," said Marie Hahn, NAVSUP FLCSI's Ship Repair Division director.
The process of procuring ship repair parts and hiring expert ship maintainers begins when Forward Deployed Regional Maintenance Center (FDRMC) develops a requirement in conjunction with the ship's needs, and then sends it to Hahn.
Hahn's team ensures the packages include the necessary documentation and develops the solicitation so industry can respond to the requirement.
"After we receive quotes from industry, my team and our FDRMC mission partners evaluate the proposal and create the necessary documentation to facilitate an award," Hahn said. "Subsequently, our team awards the contract to the vendor who meet the requirements outlined in the solicitation. This collaborative 'behind the scenes' effort of awarding contracts is the vital first step to getting industry mission partners involved so the repairs and maintenance can be performed successfully."
While undergoing maintenance and repairs, Arlington, Gunston Hall and Kearsarge also received mail, provisions and mission-related cargo. To ensure these materials were delivered and loaded onto the ships on schedule, NAVSUP FLCSI deployed logistics support representatives (LSRs) and a transportation officer (TO) to establish an on-site presence at each port. These personnel engaged directly with the ships’ supply departments and host nation representatives to ensure the timely and effective delivery of material.
Charles Tanner is a NAVSUP FLCSI logistics support officer who supported Arlington’s crew in Rijeka, Croatia.
“LSRs must have a deep knowledge of ship movements in and out of the theater, as well as having firsthand knowledge of all of U.S. Sixth Fleet points of contact,” Tanner said. “This knowledge proves invaluable in getting timely answers to questions from the ships’ supply teams or from any of our mission partners. Personal interaction with the ship’s supply team, in particular, increases the comfort factor that the support is happening correctly.”
NAVSUP FLCSI also supported resupplying the ships from strategic locations in the United Kingdom and Italy. The command’s regional postal and transportation teams at NAVSUP FLCSI’s Sites Crombie, Scotland, and Sigonella, Sicily, moved a total of 66,000 pounds of mail to personnel aboard all three ships.
The geographic diversity and near-simultaneous nature of the three maintenance periods presented the NAVSUP FLCSI team with an opportunity to test their capabilities in supporting units and personnel throughout the U.S. Naval Forces Europe (NAVEUR) area of operations.
"Our ability to support the ARG's logistics and maintenance requirements at various strategic locations across USNAVEUR attests to NAVSUP's agility and expertise in delivering readiness to the Fleet where and when our Warfighters need it," said Capt. Douglas S. MacKenzie, NAVSUP FLCSI commanding officer.
NAVSUP FLCSI supported the ships’ maintenance periods in cooperation and coordination with its U.S. and allied mission partners. Successfully performing customs clearance actions are a prime example of such coordination.
To facilitate movement of cargo and mail within or throughout the European theater, the command’s LSRs and TOs are skilled in screening the cargo manifest for any high priority parts and consumable items needed for ship repairs. Customs procedures may change on a daily basis, so they must have a fluent understanding of customs clearance processes, rules and documentation in order to ensure the materials in transit comply with the customs regulations of countries through which the materials pass.