Military Sealift Command Public Affairs
June 12, 2020
USNS Supply Plays Critical Role in Exercise with 19 NATO Allies
By Travis Weger, Military Sealift Command
BALTIC SEA -- Military Sealift Command’s fast combat support ship USNS Supply (T-AOE 6) is participating in the 49th Baltic Operations (BALTOPS 2020) exercise in the Baltic Region, June 7-16, with 19 NATO allies and partner nations.
BALTOPS, a joint, maritime-focused exercise held since 1972, typically includes at-sea exercises and port visits to enhance relationships between participating nations. This year, for the protection of crews in the current COVID-19 environment, the exercise is at sea.
Supply is playing a critical role to protect the health and safety of U.S. and allied nations by allowing ships to remain at sea during the exercise.
One of MSC’s largest combat logistics ships, Supply has the ability to move millions of gallons of fuel to multiple ships in a day, which means more fuel and supplies for NATO allies and partners.
To help keep ships on station, the mariners onboard Supply completed a replenishment-at-sea with two ships at the same time, British Royal Navy Duke-class frigate HMS Kent (F78) and Royal Danish Navy Absalon-class support ship HDMS Esbern Snare (L17).
“They needed fuel to continue supporting the exercise,” said Second Officer Tegan Church. “We were able to fuel some ships simultaneously; it is what we do!”
According to Church, replenishing the ships went quickly and safely.
BALTOPS incorporates assets from NATO allies and partner nations that includes live training events, air defense, anti-submarine warfare, maritime interdiction and mine countermeasure operations.
Participating nations includes Canada, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, the U.K., and the U.S., with 28 maritime units, 28 aircraft and 3,000 personnel.
“I am proud of USNS Supply, Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 11 Detachment 1, Captain John Pritchett and crew,” said Commodore, Military Sealift Command Europe and Africa and Commander, Task Force 63 Capt. Frank Okata. “They stepped up to meet the challenges during this environment which helped protect the force of U.S. and allied nations.”
MSC operates approximately 125 naval auxiliary civilian-crewed ships, replenishes U.S. Navy ships, strategically prepositions combat cargo at sea and moves military cargo and supplies used by deployed U.S. forces and coalition partners around the world.