Military Sealift Command Public Affairs
August 16, 2019
USNS Lenthall returns after seven-month deployment to the Mediterranean Sea
By Military Sealift Command Public Affairs
Military Sealift Command’s fleet replenishment oiler USNS John Lenthall (T-AO 189) returned to Naval Station Norfolk July 28 after a seven-month deployment.
During the deployment, Lenthall and her crew served as the primary replenishment oiler assigned to U.S. Sixth Fleet’s area of responsibility, operating mainly in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea.
Lenthall’s crew of about 80 civil service mariners (CIVMARs) successfully conducted 45 underway replacements (RAS), transferring seven million gallons of fuel and 2,000 pallets of vital stores and supplies, while at sea.
“Our roles as CIVMARs is to support the mission and ensure that the Navy can continue on with the operational tasking,” said William McDermott, Lenthall’s master.
Lenthall was especially well suited to support the mission of U.S. Navy and allied ships due to ability to refuel ships with marine diesel fuel and JP5, jet propulsion fuel. The crew also transferred stores and fresh fruits and vegetables to the combatant ships, allowing them to remain on station, McDermott explained.
While in the Mediterranean USNS Lenthall supported the San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock USS Arlington (LPD 24) while Arlington was patrolling in the area.
As part of NATO’s Operation Sea Guardian, Lenthall supported multiple allied surface combatant ships as they conducted maritime security operations. Operation Sea Guardian is designed as a flexible operation to conduct a variety of maritime security tasks in response to current challenges in the Mediterranean Sea. The operation aims to build maritime situational awareness, counter-terrorism and capacity building, according to the NATO Maritime Command website.
In addition to providing fuels and stores to USS Arlington (LPD 24) and allied ships, Lenthall’s team supported the Wasp-class amphibious assault ship, USS Kearsarge (LHD 3), which included embarked Marines from 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit and the dock landing ship USS Fort McHenry (LSD 43). Lenthall’s crew transferred more than 900,000 gallons of fuel and 252 pallets of mail, cargo and food to Kearsarge and Fort McHenry crews.
A typical at-sea time for a fleet replenishment oiler is usually five-six months, according to McDermott. Due to a couple delays, the Lenthall crew was at sea for just over seven months.
While the majority of the Lenthall crew was at sea supporting U.S. and allied ships, the crew did have the chance to make a port call to Piraeus, Greece where they were able to visit the Parthenon and Acropolis, a visit McDermott called “a once in a lifetime opportunity.”
Military Sealift Command conducts hundreds of RAS operations a year, supporting the U.S. Navy and partner nations, operating about 115 civilian-crewed ships that 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.