Naval Power and Force Projection

Summer 2017

Military magazines in the United States and Canada, covering Armor and Mobility, focuses on tactical vehicles, C4ISR, Special Operations Forces, latest soldier equipment, shelters, and key DoD programs

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Page 5 of 35

In 1949, the Military Sea Transportation Service (MSTS) became the single managing agency for the Department of Defense's ocean trans- portation 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 Com- mand (MSC). 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 primar- ily transported to theater by air. 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. Wide Geographical Reach MSC is represented by five geographic area commands (Atlantic, Pacific, Europe, Middle East and Far East), which exercise tactical control of all assigned U.S. TRANSCOM forces and MSC forces not otherwise assigned to the numbered fleet commanders. The area command staffs are primarily responsible for the execution of strategic sealift missions. The MSC area commanders are U.S. Navy captains who serve as the primary points of contact for MSC customers and numbered fleet com- manders in their respective areas. These area commanders also serve as the MSC commander's direct link to MSC ships, providing maintenance oversight, logistics coordination and other needed services. Naval Power & Force Projection had the opportunity to speak with members of the U.S. Military Sealift Command (MSC), and specifically MSC Far East (MSCFE), responsible for conducting re-supply and transportation movements across a major segment of U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM). In the last decade, MSCFE has joined operational mission focus with Com- mander Task Force 73 (CTF 73) as part of an effort to align fleet operational chain of command for streamlined mission operations. NP&FP: Regarding MSC Far East operations in support of U.S. Navy/ Joint DoD mission sets, can you speak to the evolution of MSC and correspondingly MSC Far East as a primary military maritime supply/ personnel mover? Leonard F. Bell, Fleet Ordnance and Dry Cargo Project Officer, MSC: There are a few key focus areas that MSC Far East is responsible for on a daily basis: Expanded Combat Logistics Force (CLF) role. In the 1990's Military Sealift Command Far East (MSCFE) was pretty much restricted to a type command (TYCOM) support role. We assisted in scheduling and executing maintenance but had very little input into scheduling or operational missions. With the co-location of MSCFE with Commander, Task Force 73 (CTF 73) in 2006, that role became much closer. While CTF 73 retains tactical control (TACON) of CLF ship, we have a greater role as subject-matter-expert (SME) for CLF ship operations. This has synced nicely with the evolution of MSC as operating some of the CLF platforms (primarily T-AO and T-AFS) to the current CLF structure where all CLF ships (T-AO, T-AKE and T-AOE) are MSC controlled ships. The Military Sealift Command's dry cargo, ammunition ship USNS Medgar Evers (T-AKE 13) passes the Portsmouth Naval Hospital while pulling into downtown Norfolk, Virginia. The ship's port visit was part of Maritime Day, which is held annually to honor the history and sacrifices of civilian mariners. (U.S. Navy photograph by Jennifer Hunt/Released) BRIDGING THE VASTNESS OF MARITIME DOMAIN By Christian Sheehy, NP&FP Managing Editor MARITIME LOGISTICS MILITARY SEALIFT COMMAND 4 | NP&FP and DoD P&E | Summer 2017

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