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Military Sealift Command Public Affairs
August 11, 2020

USNS Joshua Humphreys, Mission Essential Crew of the Sea Return to Norfolk
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By LaShawn Sykes

Military Sealift Command’s fleet replenishment oiler, USNS Joshua Humphreys (T-AO 188) returned to Naval Station Norfolk, after completing a five-month deployment in the U.S. Fifth Fleet, responsible for Naval Forces in the Persian Gulf, Red Sea, Arabian Sea, and parts of the Indian Ocean, August 11.

Congratulations and welcome home to USNS Joshua Humphreys, said Capt. Janice G. Smith, Commodore of MSC Atlantic. “For 132 days, the crew maintained the highest levels of operational readiness, remaining laser focused on a safe and successful mission execution. Despite the COVID 19 challenges, the men and women of Joshua Humphreys remained unwavering in their commitment and dedication to providing on time logistic support to our war-fighters and coalition partners.”

As a part of MSC’s Combat Logistics Force vessels, “oilers are an integral part of the Navy’s logistics system, making it possible for combatant ships to stay forward deployed, protecting America’s interests worldwide.  “The Combat Logistics Fleet is the backbone of sustained operations at sea and the CIVMARS that man and operate these ships, responsible for resupplying combat ships with fuel, stores, and ammunition, are the most critical piece of that equation,” said Smith.

Supplies move from CLF ships to combatant ships by several processes known collectively as underway replenishment. One type of UNREP is the connected replenishment, during which dry cargo and fuel are transferred along wires or hoses that connect ships sailing side by side at the same speed. Another type of UNREP is the vertical replenishment, where cargo is attached to helicopters that ferry goods between ships.

Deployed with a mission essential crew of 77 men and women, Humphreys safely executed 51 replenishments at sea and transferred more than 19.2 million gallons of fuel and 1,221 pallets of cargo.  Likewise, the ship provided critical logistical support during Fifth Fleet’s participation in Operation Freedom’s Sentinel Exercise, which was to increase surveillance of and security in key waterways in the Middle East. “Humphreys’ operational success was key to maintaining Freedom of Navigation – keeping the sea lanes open and assuring our allies,” said Smith.

Humphreys is the second ship of the Henry J. Kaiser-class.  The ship is named for Joshua Humphreys who designed the six original US Navy frigates.  Specifically built for MSC, the ship entered non-commissioned U.S. Navy service with a primarily civilian crew on April 3, 1987.

Conducting hundreds of RAS operations annually, MSC supports the U.S. Navy and partner nations and operates 126 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.

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