Heritage & History

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Seal Design

MSC Seal

Blazon

Description. On a black disc, a demi-globe issuing from base and tilting on axis to show the northern hemisphere, shaded blue gridlined and edged gold, surmounting the globe, an American bald eagle, wings displayed in Proper colors supporting a stylized version of the United States coat of arms, (the chief bearing two white stars and the entire shield edged with a gold border), grasping in its talons a gold anchor with yellow and light blue markings on its stock and completely enwrapped by a blue scroll doubled red; the scroll is inscribed "UNITED WE SAIL" in white letters, above everything displays a white pole star edged gold. The disc is edged with a narrow gold border within a dark blue designation band inscribed arching at the top "UNITED STATES NAVY" and at its base "MILITARY SEALIFT COMMAND," in white letters. The complete design is enclosed by a gold rope.

Symbolism

Much like the original Military Sealift Command seal, the American Bald Eagle as our national symbol remains front and center and continues to bear a shield of the coat of arms of the United States and hold a gold anchor symbolizing our nautical heritage. The ship stack colors of light blue and gold, the traditional colors for MSC, are showcased on the anchor. The command name and parent service remain inscribed in the designation band encompassing the entire seal and surrounded by a gold rope. The addition of the globe to the seal pays tribute to the global mission dating back to the establishment of the Military Sea Transportation Service. Reinforcing that continuous worldwide mission, the light to dark shading of the globe represents 24 hours-a-day, 7 days-a-week support to the warfighter. The shading also emphasizes the integration of MSC, represented by the light blue on the left, with the U.S. Navy, represented by the dark navy blue on the right. The black sky surrounding the globe represents the evolution of MSC's mission in all five domains: sea, air, land, space and cyberspace. The dark blue scroll curled around the anchor is inscribed with MSC's vision of United We Sail, representing an organization unified in purpose while geographically dispersed. The Polaris, commonly known as the North Star, represents the timeless practice of celestial navigation and signifies the command's guiding principles and values that enable the essential mission of providing services and logistics in support of national policy.

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History

During World War II, four separate government agencies controlled sea transportation. In 1949, the Military Sea Transportation Service became the single managing agency for the Department of Defense's ocean transportation needs. The command assumed responsibility for providing sealift and ocean transportation for all military services as well as for other government agencies.

Only nine months after its creation, MSTS responded to the challenge of the Korean War. On July 6, 1950, only 11 days after the initial invasion of South Korea by communist North Korean troops, MSTS transported the 24th Infantry Division and its equipment from Japan to Pusan, South Korea, for duty.

During the Vietnam War, MSTS was renamed Military Sealift Command. Between 1965 and 1969, MSC transported nearly 54 million tons of combat equipment and supplies and nearly 8 million tons of fuel to Vietnam. MSC ships also transported troops to Vietnam. The Vietnam era marked the last use of MSC troop ships. Now, U.S. troops are primarily transported to theater by air.

Through the 1970s and 1980s, MSC provided the Department of Defense with ocean transportation in support of U.S. deterrent efforts during the Cold War years.

During the first Persian Gulf War's Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, MSC distinguished itself as the largest source of defense transportation of any nation involved. MSC ships delivered more than 12 million tons of wheeled and tracked vehicles, helicopters, ammunition, dry cargo, fuel and other supplies and equipment during the war. At the height of the war, MSC managed more than 230 government-owned and chartered ships.

Since Sept. 11, 2001, MSC ships have played a vital and continuing role in contingency operations around the world. As of January 2013, MSC ships delivered more than 25.7 billion gallons of fuel and moved 126.2 million square feet of combat equipment and supplies to U.S. and coalition forces engaged in operations supporting Iraq and Afghanistan.

In addition, MSC, the Navy and several non-governmental organizations have treated hundreds of thousands of patients in hospital ship deployments worldwide.

  • Cable guide for Deep Sea Winch on USNS Josiah Willard Gibbs

    Cable guide for Deep Sea Winch on USNS Josiah Willard Gibbs

  • USNS General Nelson M. Walker in New York in July 1958

    USNS General Nelson M. Walker in New York in July 1958

  • Repairing a screw propeller of USNS General Maurice Rose

    Repairing a screw propeller of USNS General Maurice Rose

  • USNS Mizar (T-AGOR-11) circa the middle or later 1960s

    USNS Mizar (T-AGOR-11) circa the middle or later 1960s

  • Operating davits during boat drill on board USNS General Maurice Rose

    Operating davits during boat drill on board USNS General Maurice Rose