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News | Aug. 4, 2022

NAVSUP, mission partners in Europe support Kearsarge ARG’S logistics and maintenance periods

By Joe Yanik

The Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) completed a logistics and maintenance period in Brest, France, while Whidbey Island-class dock landing ship USS Gunston Hall (LSD 44) and San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock USS Arlington (LPD 24) underwent mid-deployment voyage repair (MDVR) periods in Copenhagen, Denmark and Rijeka, Croatia, respectively.

An MDVR is a maintenance period that allows U.S. ships to complete corrective and preventative maintenance that cannot be accomplished at sea. MDVRs involve performing repairs so that ships remains fully mission capable throughout their deployment.

In preparation for Gunston Hall's and Arlington's MDVRs, NAVSUP FLCSI's Ship Repair Division (Code 200) procured repair parts that were critical to ensuring the on-time completion of the maintenance efforts conducted for the ships. A part of the command's contracting department (Code 200), the Ship Repair Division's mission is to support repairs for ships that are homeported in, and currently deployed to, the U.S. Sixth Fleet area of operations.

"Successfully procuring repair parts and services for the MDVRs was the result of the close working relationship between NAVSUP FLCSI's Ship Repair Division and Forward Deployed Regional Maintenance Center, our key mission partner while supporting ship maintenance periods," said Marie Hahn, NAVSUP FLCSI's Ship Repair Division director.

The process of procuring ship repair parts and hiring expert ship maintainers begins when Forward Deployed Regional Maintenance Center (FDRMC) develops a requirement in conjunction with the ship's needs, and then sends it to Hahn.

Hahn's team ensures the packages include the necessary documentation and develops the solicitation so industry can respond to the requirement.

"After we receive quotes from industry, my team and our FDRMC mission partners evaluate the proposal and create the necessary documentation to facilitate an award," Hahn said. "Subsequently, our team awards the contract to the vendor who meet the requirements outlined in the solicitation. This collaborative 'behind the scenes' effort of awarding contracts is the vital first step to getting industry mission partners involved so the repairs and maintenance can be performed successfully."

While undergoing maintenance and repairs, Arlington, Gunston Hall and Kearsarge also received mail, provisions and mission-related cargo. To ensure these materials were delivered and loaded onto the ships on schedule, NAVSUP FLCSI deployed logistics support representatives (LSRs) and a transportation officer (TO) to establish an on-site presence at each port. These personnel engaged directly with the ships’ supply departments and host nation representatives to ensure the timely and effective delivery of material.

Charles Tanner is a NAVSUP FLCSI logistics support officer who supported Arlington’s crew in Rijeka, Croatia.

“LSRs must have a deep knowledge of ship movements in and out of the theater, as well as having firsthand knowledge of all of U.S. Sixth Fleet points of contact,” Tanner said. “This knowledge proves invaluable in getting timely answers to questions from the ships’ supply teams or from any of our mission partners. Personal interaction with the ship’s supply team, in particular, increases the comfort factor that the support is happening correctly.”

NAVSUP FLCSI also supported resupplying the ships from strategic locations in the United Kingdom and Italy. The command’s regional postal and transportation teams at NAVSUP FLCSI’s Sites Crombie, Scotland, and Sigonella, Sicily, moved a total of 66,000 pounds of mail to personnel aboard all three ships.

The geographic diversity and near-simultaneous nature of the three maintenance periods presented the NAVSUP FLCSI team with an opportunity to test their capabilities in supporting units and personnel throughout the U.S. Naval Forces Europe (NAVEUR) area of operations.

"Our ability to support the ARG's logistics and maintenance requirements at various strategic locations across USNAVEUR attests to NAVSUP's agility and expertise in delivering readiness to the Fleet where and when our Warfighters need it," said Capt. Douglas S. MacKenzie, NAVSUP FLCSI commanding officer.

NAVSUP FLCSI supported the ships’ maintenance periods in cooperation and coordination with its U.S. and allied mission partners. Successfully performing customs clearance actions are a prime example of such coordination.

To facilitate movement of cargo and mail within or throughout the European theater, the command’s LSRs and TOs are skilled in screening the cargo manifest for any high priority parts and consumable items needed for ship repairs. Customs procedures may change on a daily basis, so they must have a fluent understanding of customs clearance processes, rules and documentation in order to ensure the materials in transit comply with the customs regulations of countries through which the materials pass.

“Our host nation partners provide indispensable knowledge of local customs laws and regulations allowing for speedy customs clearance for both inbound and outbound movements,” said Alan Wilkinson, NAVSUP FLCSI transportation manager who supported Kearsarge in Brest, France. “Having boots on the ground allows me to bolster and create new relationships with local customs offices and military officials, strengthening the ties between our countries.”

Besides FDRMC and the ships’ supply teams, NAVSUP FLCSI’s mission partners for ships’ logistics maintenance periods include Command Task Force 63, aircraft loadmasters, warehouse cargo loaders and air traffic control personnel.

“Our U.S. and Allied logistics partners play a key role in how U.S. Navy and Marine Corps-sponsored cargo move throughout the USNAVEUR area of operations,” Wilkinson said. “They schedule flight and truck movements bringing supplies, mail, and food to any location necessary.”

The sustained support of NAVSUP FLCSI, FDRMC and ship’s force, working alongside various U.S. interagency and Allied partners, ensured the success of these maintenance periods. The ability to conduct multiple maintenance availabilities and MDVRs throughout the European theater is a testament to the capability and capacity that this combined team brings to NAVEUR and to the Navy-Marine Corps team. It also sets the stage for continued refinement and improvement in maintenance and logistics support.

Kearsarge ARG is under the command and control of Task Force 61/2. Embarked commands with the ARG include Amphibious Squadron SIX, 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), Fleet Surgical Team 2, Fleet Surgical Team 4, Tactical Air Control Squadron 22, Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 22, Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 28, Assault Craft Unit 2, Assault Craft Unit 4, Naval Beach Group 2, and Beach Master Unit 2.

The Kearsarge ARG and embarked 22nd MEU has been operating and participating in bilateral exercises throughout Europe and Africa. During Hedgehog 22, BALTOPS22 and NATO vigilance activity Neptune Shield 22, ARG ships conducted port visits in Tromsø, Norway; Helsinki, Finland; Tallinn, Estonia; and Stockholm, Sweden. Arlington has also participated in exercises with Greece, Turkey and North African countries in support of Alexander the Great, EFES, and African Lion, respectively.

FDRMC is a field activity of Naval Sea Systems Command and was established to provide emergent, intermediate and depot-level maintenance and modernization support for U.S. Navy ships throughout U.S. Fifth and Sixth Fleet areas of responsibilities.

FLCSI is one of NAVSUP's eight globally-positioned commands that provides for the full range of solutions for logistics, business and support services to the U.S. Naval, Joint, NATO and Allied Forces across 14 enduring and forward operating sites; forward contingency and cooperative security locations in 13 countries in Europe and Africa.


Editor's note: The original story can be viewed on the US Navy website.