|Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta is escorted by USNS Richard E. Byrd (T-AKE 4) Chief Mate Fred Cullen in Cam Ranh Bay, Vietnam, June 3. Cullen took Panetta on a short ride out to Byrd.|
DOD photo by Erin A. Kirk-Cuomo
When Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert said today's Navy needs to be forward deployed and ready to meet any mission challenges, anywhere around the globe, he was describing MSC perfectly! Just look at some recent headlines of the news of the world.
Pacific Partnership conducts life-changing surgeries in Indonesia
SIAU, Indonesia (Navy News Service) – Patients aboard USNS Mercy were preparing to return home June 6 after receiving life-changing surgery, thanks to the Pacific Partnership 2012 mission...
We've had a role in Pacific Partnership missions since they began seven years ago as an annual U.S. Pacific Fleet humanitarian and civic assistance mission for U.S. military personnel, host and partner nations, non-governmental organizations and international agencies. The missions are designed to build stronger relationships and develop disaster response capabilities throughout the Asia-Pacific region. Hospital ship USNS Mercy has become a symbol of hope to countless thousands of people all around the Pacific Rim.
U.S. Navy High-Speed Swift departs Simon's Town for East London, continues visit to South Africa
PRETORIA, South Africa (U.S. Embassy News) – High-speed vessel Swift arrived June 2 in East London, making the second stop in a planned visit to three ports in South Africa. Swift departed Simon's Town after six days of events, which included a reception on board the vessel, a community relations project at Kethuphila youth center and several performances in town by the U.S. Naval Forces Europe Band...
MSC operates HSV Swift with commercial mariners who provide deck, engineering and navigation, while embarked U.S. military personnel oversee theater security cooperation efforts. Swift has visited Namibia, Republic of Congo and Cote D'Ivoire and will visit other ports during this Africa Partnership Station mission. Virginia Palmer, Charge d'affaires at the U.S. Consulate South Africa, said our crew of civilians, Sailors and Marines were excellent ambassadors for the United States during their visit.
U.S. Marines land at Paldiski Harbor
PALDISKI, Estonia (Estonian Defense Forces News) – U.S. Navy transport ship USNS Bobo arrived at Paldiski Southern Harbor, transporting armored vehicles, supplies and U.S. Marines, who will take part in the BALTOPS military exercises. At noon on June 14, the U.S. Marines will demonstrate the disembarkation of vehicles and supplies from USNS Bobo using a system of lighters. The operation can be seen by the public from viewing areas near Paldiski.
MSC has participated in BALTOPS for years. Led by U.S. Naval Forces Europe, this is the 40th BALTOPS exercise. Since 2010, our role has increased from deploying equipment ashore to amphibious maritime off-load operations. The commercial mariners aboard our Prepositioning Program ships have delivered – time after time!
International teams cooperate in Eurasia Partnership Dive 2012
CONSTANTA, Romania (Navy News Service) – Diving teams from Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Romania, Ukraine and the United States met in Constanta, Romania for Eurasia Partnership Dive 2012 May 28-June 8. The exercise, co-hosted by the Romanian and U.S. navies, helped evaluate progress made by NATO allies and partners toward diving interoperability, standardization of procedures and equipment familiarity...
USNS Grasp, one of MSC's rescue and salvage ships, provided the platform for the various countries' dive teams to learn from each other and improve their skills. MSC has been a vital part of these programs that reach out to our partners and allies. The professionalism of our CIVMARs provides a guiding light for the other navies involved.
Ponce deploys to CENTCOM as Interim Afloat Forward Staging Base
NORFOLK (Navy News Service) – The amphibious ship USS Ponce deployed from Norfolk, Va., on June 1 to serve as an Afloat Forward Staging Base for U.S. Central Command, marking the end of a quick turnaround for the Navy to address an urgent operational need. The ship, formerly LPD-15, had been scheduled for a March 2012 decommissioning, but was spared when U.S. Fleet Forces Command and several Navy officials decided instead to refurbish it to meet a longstanding need from CENTCOM.
Shipmates, this is one of the biggest success stories for MSC yet. When Adm. Harvey, Commander, Fleet Forces Command asked me just before Christmas if MSC could modify and refurbish USS Ponce for deployment as an interim afloat forward staging base, I immediately called Jack Taylor, MSC's director of government-operated ships. Jack said "Yes, Sir!" so I told Adm. Harvey MSC was ready to take on the project. His response was, "Good. Oh, by the way, I need it June 1!"
The MSC team made that daunting task happen. Working in concert with Sailors from COMNAVSURFLANT, USS Ponce was made ready for her new mission and logged "last line" five minutes ahead of schedule on June 1. Under way's the only way!
USNS Richard E. Byrd hosts Defense Secretary Panetta in Cam Ranh Bay
CAM RAHN BAY, Vietnam (Defense News) – Senior U.S. officials were once a familiar sight at this deep-water port on the South China Sea. But that was during the Vietnam War, which is why Defense Secretary Leon Panetta's visit to an American ship moored in the harbor here is historic. Panetta touched on history, but spoke of the future to the men and women of USNS Richard E. Byrd – a Military Sealift Command dry cargo/ammunition ship. Panetta later held a joint press conference with Vietnamese minister of defense Gen. Phung Quang Thanh.
Wherever the United States shows the flag, MSC is there! Our people and ships are very much a part of the diplomatic presence of America around the world. Byrd's Chief Mate Fred "Spike" Cullen, met the secretary at the pier and rode out to the ship and back with him. Spike and the secretary come from the same area near Monterey, Calif.
MSC on the Web
Around the world, on every ocean, MSC is part of the CNO's forward-deployed and fully ready Navy. The people of the world are reading about it almost every day. We're even reaching out to the world through the Internet. Robbin Laird, a contributing reporter for AOL's Defense Beat, is doing a series of commentaries about the U.S. strategy in the Pacific. In the first of his articles, he highlighted MSC as the key to sustainability, noting that, "…whether that support comes from underway replenishment, from ships at sea or air assets, the more than 100 MSC ships are the lifeblood of our fleet."
Mr. Laird highlighted MSC's readiness and ability to support U.S. objectives when called up, citing USS Ponce and the T-AKE dry cargo/ammunition ships as examples. Mr. Laird concluded by saying "MSC provides a key element for sustained forward deployment. And folding this into the discussion about what is needed for the Asian pivot is part of what professionals need to do."
I couldn't have said it better myself. Thanks to all of you – afloat and ashore – who enable our Navy and our nation to operate forward every day. MSC delivers!
Sail safe and yours aye,
Mark H. “Buz” Buzby
Rear Admiral, U.S. Navy
Commander, Military Sealift Command
Moving forward with
As of the middle of June, the MSC Total Force Management team has completed approximately 70 percent of the paperwork needed to officially realign supervisory chains for MSC headquarters and MSC Norfolk. All directorates are complete except N7 Engineering and P01 Government Operations, including PM1 Combat Logistics Force, PM4 Service Support Ships and class managers/staff. They should be complete by early July. All that remains is revising several position descriptions. Those will be reviewed in July.
The next steps will see N8 Comptroller folks adjusting the supervisory hierarchies in SLDCADA, the automated time and attendance system, and revising the Defense Travel System approval routing to match the realignment. N6 Command, Control, Communications and Computer Systems will revise the personnel locator and Outlook information.
This all sounds like a lot of complicated steps, but they’re all necessary to make the realignment work as seamlessly as possible in terms of our primary mission – delivering the warfighters’ needs wherever, whenever.
As always, for information and answers to questions about the ONE MSC realignment process, send an e-mail to MSC-Future@navy.mil. Or, you can visit the blog, Thackrah’s Thoughts, on the MSC portal at https://www.mysealift.msc.navy.mil/sites/n01/mscfutures/default.aspx.