Military Sealift Command Public Affairs
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December 6, 2010
Military Sealift Command Senior Officer Visits USNS Flint
By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Cynthia Z. De Leon, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/5th Fleet Public Affairs
Commander, Military Sealift Command visited ammunition ship USNS Flint (T-AE 32) and fleet ocean tug USNS Catawba (T-ATF 168) to speak with the ship's crews and to host an awards ceremony while the vessels were in Manama, Bahrain, Nov. 16.
Rear Adm. Mark H. Buzby visited with Flint's civil service master, Capt. William R. Helton, and held an all-hands call during which he presented the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT) Medal to 40 civil service mariners.
"I wanted to present these awards in person instead of having you receive them via mail," Buzby said. "I also wanted to tell you how important your job is and how much I appreciate the struggles you have to go through in this environment."
The GWOT medal is awarded to Department of Defense civilian employees for direct support in a combat zone.
The all-hands call also afforded Buzby the opportunity to brief the crew about MSC developments and address any questions and concerns they might have. Buzby additionally spoke of his ideas on how to better take care of those working in the organization, and voiced his conviction to personally strive to be the best possible MSC commander.
"We came up with 50 initiatives across MSC that impact how we take care of our people; ways to do things better, improve professional development, quality of life, and highlight performance," he said. "My three command philosophies in executing our mission: take care of your people first, be professional and be a good shipmate. You do those three things, you have a pretty good organization, and in my mind you have a pretty tight team."
Buzby also announced that MSC will be receiving new ships, including high-speed vessels and new replacement fleet replenishment oilers [T-AO].
MSC is scheduled to receive new T-AOs in the coming years, news which was well received, especially by Able Bodied Seaman (Maintenance) Linden Mitchell.
"Now that we're getting new ships, it takes out a lot of the restoration that we had to do," he said.
Construction on the new oilers will start in fiscal year 2014 verses 2017, Buzby said.
Buzby additionally informed the crew that as MSC employees they now have the privilege of shopping at the Navy Exchange, an announcement which generated a loud applause.
Flint is one of three MSC ammunition ships and is one of 42 ships in MSC's naval fleet auxiliary force. Its crew consists of about 130 civil service mariners and 20 active duty U.S. Navy personnel.
MSC operates approximately 110 noncombatant, civilian-crewed ships and is the single largest employer of U.S. merchant mariners in the world; employing more than 5,000 civil service mariners and almost 1,700 commercial mariners who work for private ship operating companies under contract to MSC.
MSC ships replenish U.S. Navy ships, conduct specialized missions, strategically preposition combat cargo at sea around the world and move military cargo and supplies used by deployed U.S. forces and coalition partners.
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