MSC 2005 in Review

View Print Version
A  A  A  

Naval Fleet Auxiliary Force

Naval Fleet Auxiliary Force Ships - 35

(as of Sept. 30, 2005)

Fleet Oilers - 15
USNS Big Horn (T-AO 198)
USNS Walter S. Diehl (T-AO 193)
USNS John Ericsson (T-AO 194)
USNS Leroy Grumman (T-AO 195)
USNS Guadalupe (T-AO 200)
USNS Kanawha (T-AO 196)
USNS Henry J. Kaiser (T-AO 187) ROS-30*
USNS Laramie (T-AO 203)
USNS John Lenthall (T-AO 189)
USNS Patuxent (T-AO 201)
USNS Pecos (T-AO 197)
USNS Rappahannock (T-AO 204)
USNS Tippecanoe (T-AO 199)
USNS Yukon (T-AO 202)
USNS Joshua Humphreys (T-AO 188) ROS-30*

Ammunition Ships - 5
USNS Flint (T-AE 32)
USNS Kilauea (T-AE 26) ROS-15*
USNS Kiska (T-AE 35)
USNS Mount Baker (T-AE 34)
USNS Shasta (T-AE 33)

Combat Stores Ships - 5
USNS Concord (T-AFS 5)
USNS Niagara Falls (T-AFS 3)
USNS San Jose (T-AFS 7)
USNS Saturn (T-AFS 10)
USNS Spica (T-AFS 9)

Fleet Ocean Tugs - 4
USNS Apache (T-ATF 172)
USNS Catawba (T-ATF 168)
USNS Navajo (T-ATF 169)
USNS Sioux (T-ATF 171)

Fast Combat Support Ships - 4
USNS Arctic (T-AOE 8)
USNS Rainier (T-AOE 7)
USNS Supply (T-AOE 6)
USNS Bridge (T-AOE 10)

Hospital Ships - 2
USNS Comfort (T-AH 20) ROS-5*
USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) ROS-5*

*Reduced Operating Status
(ready to get underway in 5, 15 or 30 days)

Dry Cargo Delivered by NFAF Ships in FY 2005: 1.3 million square feet
Fuel Delivered by NFAF Ships in FY 2005: 4.7 million gallons

n FY 2005, Naval Fleet Auxiliary Force, or NFAF, ships spent an average of two out of every three days underway or conducting port operations in support of the U.S. Navy Fleet. During the year, NFAF ships pumped more than 466 million gallons of ship propulsion and aviation fuels and handled more than 1.3 million square feet of cargo, ammunition and stores for U.S. Navy and coalition surface combatants in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom and other fleet missions for field and numbered fleet commanders.

In addition to sustaining U.S. and coalition afloat combatants, NFAF ships also provided vital life-sustaining supplies and medical treatment in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations abroad and at home.

Fleet Replenishment Oilers

Thirteen fleet replenishment oilers were available for fleet operations in FY 2005. A fourteenth ship, USNS Henry J. Kaiser, was maintained in 30-day reduced operating status. In late summer 2005, USNS Joshua Humphreys was brought out of lay-up status and entered a shipyard maintenance availability for activation to reduced operating status.

Civil service mariners
Civil service mariners aboard fast combat support ship USNS Rainier prepare to receive a fuel transfer line from replenishment oiler USNS Tippecanoe as she comes alongside Rainier. Photo by PH3 M. Jeremie Yoder, USN.

Six Atlantic-based fleet oilers conducted successful deployments to the Mediterranean Sea and Persian Gulf, providing fuel and cargo services to carrier strike groups, expeditionary strike groups and surface combatants in the two operating theaters. Additionally, USNS Patuxent operated in the Gulf of Mexico supporting surface ships engaged in Hurricane Katrina humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations.

Seven Pacific-based fleet oilers continued to sustain surface units throughout the Third and Seventh Fleets. Several oilers rotated through deployments to the Fifth Fleet area of operations, providing needed fuel and supplies to U.S. and coalition ships in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. USNS Rappahannock, USNS Tippecanoe and USNS Yukon also participated in Operation Unified Assistance, providing critical supplies to the Southeast Asia victims affected by the December 2004 tsunami.

USNS Patuxent and USNS Big Horn participated in Hurricanes Katrina and Rita disaster relief operations in the Gulf of Mexico.

Ammunition Ships

Four ammunition ships were active in 2005 and efficiently provided several thousand tons of ammunition and other cargo to Navy combatants at sea. Two ammunition ships remained in reduced operating status: USNS Kilauea and USNS Santa Barbara. The latter was deactivated at the end of the fiscal year.

Mariners aboard USNS Concord
Mariners aboard MSC combat stores ship USNS Concord transfer pallets to MSC fast combat support ship USNS Rainier during an underway replenishment operation in support of tsunami relief in Southeast Asia. Photo by PH3 Rebecca Moat, USN.

In the Pacific, USNS Shasta and USNS Kiska continued operating with the Seventh Fleet throughout the year. USNS Flint, working between eastern and western Pacific areas of operation, was instrumental in the short-fused transport of a replacement sonar dome for USS San Francisco from Pearl Harbor to Guam. USNS Mount Baker deployed on short notice to the Mediterranean for ammunition lifts and also escorted a Sri Lanka patrol vessel across the Atlantic Ocean.

Fast Combat Support Ships

Four fast combat support ships operated in 2005. USNS Arctic deployed to the Mediterranean Sea and the Persian Gulf for the first half of the year and later participated in disaster relief operations in the Gulf of Mexico, providing much needed supplies to the areas damaged by Hurricane Katrina. USNS Supply also participated in Gulf of Mexico disaster relief operations.

USNS Bridge conducted operations in the southern California operating area prior to deploying to the Seventh and Fifth Fleets. USNS Rainier conducted back-to-back deployments with USS Stennis and USS Lincoln carrier strike groups, participated in the early stages of Operation Unified Assistance and also conducted an exercise with the Mexican navy.

Combat Stores Ships

In 2005, five of the six combat stores ships actively sustained surface combatants in support of maritime operations in the Fifth, Sixth and Seventh Fleets. USNS Sirius was deactivated and transferred to the U.S. Maritime Administration for future use as a school ship for Texas A&M University. USNS Spica and USNS Saturn conducted round-robin deployments to the Mediterranean Sea and Persian Gulf using MSC's commercial helicopter detachment for vertical replenishments.

USNS Concord, USNS Niagara Falls and USNS San Jose provided replenishment services to the Seventh Fleet with San Jose also deploying to the Fifth Fleet briefly during the summer. All three participated in Operation Unified Assistance in Southeast Asia. In the summer, San Jose responded to a vessel distress call in the Gulf of Oman, saving the life of a Pakistani mariner.

Jane Lewis Sale Henley and Lisa Clark christen USNS Lewis and Clark
Jane Lewis Sale Henley, left, and Lisa Clark, descendants of explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, christen the first of MSC's dry cargo/ammunition ships.

Dry Cargo & Ammunition Ships

National Steel and Shipbuilding Company, under contract to Naval Sea Systems Command, continued building the first three of 11 new dry cargo/ammunition ships that will replace MSC's aging combat stores ships. The lead ship in the dry cargo/ammunition class, USNS Lewis & Clark, was launched in May 2005 with an expected fleet delivery date of March 2006.

USNS Lewis and Clark slides stern-first into San Diego Harbor
Arrayed with streamers, balloons and bunting, USNS Lewis and Clark slides stern-first into San Diego Harbor at her evening christening ceremony in May.
Harbor tugs maneuver the newly launched USNS Lewis and Clark
Harbor tugs maneuver the newly launched ship to her new dock for finishing work. Photos by Ken Wright, NASSCO.
Jane Lewis Sale Henley and Lisa Clark christen USNS Lewis and Clark
Harbor tugs maneuver the newly launched ship to her new dock for finishing work. Photos by Ken Wright, NASSCO.

Commercial Helicopter

Operations (FY 2005)

Flight Hours
Flight check:
2,923.6 tons
30.9 tons
Total lifts:

Commercial Helicopters

During FY 2005, MSC contracted a commercial helicopter detachment from Evergreen Helicopters Inc., to support vertical replenishment requirements for Navy operations in the Mediterranean Sea and the Persian Gulf. The detachment, composed of two Puma Helicopters that alternately deployed aboard USNS Saturn and USNS Spica, transferred cargo and passengers between MSC combat stores ships and U.S. Navy surface combatants in the Fifth and Sixth Fleets with 100 percent mission availability.

USNS Apache
MSC fleet ocean tug USNS Apache earned the 2005 Department of the Navy Safety Excellence Award in the MSC category. The award recognizes ships that maintain exemplary safety records, use resources efficiently and employ proactive occupational safety and health programs. Photo by PH2 Daniel McLain, USN.

Fleet Tugs

Fleet tug USNS Catawba continued to earn recognition for outstanding salvage and mine recovery operations while forward deployed in the Persian Gulf. Four other tugs were actively engaged in towing and salvage operations in the Second, Third and Seventh Fleet areas of responsibility. USNS Navajo and USNS Sioux simultaneously towed two ex-USS surface ships to the western Pacific to be used as targets during a major multi-national exercise. USNS Navajo also acted as an escort for USS San Francisco for the submarine's transit from the western Pacific to a U.S. West Coast repair depot. USNS Mohawk was deactivated in August 2005.

During the year, fleet tugs led all MSC ships in voluntary compliance with the International Safety Management Code, identifying, developing and implementing class-wide shipboard procedures for the MSC safety management system.

Hospital Ships

During FY 2005, USNS Mercy and USNS Comfort paid visits to Canada on their respective coasts for combined joint medical exercises, demonstrating cooperative disaster response and medical support. USNS Mercy was activated to full operating status in January 2005 and deployed to Southeast Asia to provide medical services during Operation Unified Assistance, part of the international response to the devastating tsunami in December 2004. Mercy also participated in the Theater Security Cooperation Program, providing medical support to western Pacific nations.

USNS Comfort was activated in August 2005 and sailed to the Gulf of Mexico to provide medical treatment and support services for Americans on the U.S. Gulf Coast who had been displaced by the damaging effects of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

USNS Mercy
MSC hospital ship USNS Mercy left San Diego on Jan. 5, deploying on a humanitarian mission that brought disaster relief to the victims of the Dec. 26 tsunami in Southeast Asia. Photo by PH1 (AW/SW/NAC) Daniel Woods, USN.
A Singaporean man and his son watch as USNS Mercy passes through the Johor Strait
A Singaporean man and his son watch as MSC hospital ship USNS Mercy passes through the Johor Strait, which separates Singapore and Malaysia. Photo by Lt. Chuck Bell, USN.
Sign to USNS Comfort
Following Hurricane Katrina, a makeshift sign made by USNS Comfort mariners pointed the way to the ship for medical care for local residents in Pascagoula, Miss. Photo by Gillian Brigham.
USNS Comfort
Sailors awaited the arrival of hospital ship USNS Comfort as she pulled into Mayport, Fla., to load supplies and take on additional medical personnel on her way to the Gulf Coast region to aid the victims of Hurricane Katrina. Photo by PHAN Nicholas A. Garratt, USN.