navigation-background arrow-down-circle Reply Icon Show More Heart Delete Icon wiki-circle wiki-square wiki arrow-up-circle add-circle add-square add arrow-down arrow-left arrow-right arrow-up calendar-circle chat-bubble-2 chat-bubble check-circle check close contact-us credit-card drag menu email embed facebook-circle snapchat-circle facebook-square facebook faq-circle faq film gear google-circle google-square googleplus history home instagram-circle instagram-square instagram linkedin-circle linkedin-square linkedin load monitor Video Player Play Icon person pinterest-circle pinterest-square pinterest play readlist remove-circle remove-square remove search share share2 sign-out star trailer trash twitter-circle twitter-square twitter youtube-circle youtube-square youtube

Military Sealift Command celebrates 100 years of underway replenishment

May 30, 2017 (Photo Credit: U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class John Grandin)
Military Sealift Command is celebrating a centennial of underway replenishment. Their mission — to empower global warfighting capabilities — is a critical component of force readiness, serving as the lifeline for American vessels and troops at sea. Underway replenishment of fuel, ammunition, food and spare parts enables vessels to operate worldwide with little support from host nations.

The first open ocean underway replenishment was conducted in 1799 by Capt. Silas Talbot aboard the U.S. Navy warship, the USS Constitution. The use of small boats for replenishment enabled the Constitution to stay at sea for over 347 days while protecting American shipping in the Caribbean.

Sailors aboard the guided-missile cruiser USS Bunker Hill (CG 52) guide a refueling probe during an underway replenishment with the Military Sealift Command dry cargo and ammunition ship USNS Washington Chambers (T-AKE 11).
Photo Credit: U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class John Grandin

On May 28, 1917, Lt. Chester Nimitz pioneered modern underway replenishment by refueling six destroyers that were en route to England for operations during World War I. The first transfer of ordnance came during World War II, thus enabling that Navy’s carrier task forces to operate for months on end.

The Navy continued improving the reliability of its underway replenishment system post-World War II, and presently, there are almost 400 fuel and cargo delivery stations in the Navy and an untold number among U.S. allies.

Sailors assigned to the guided-missile destroyer USS Mason (DDG 87) attach a re-fueling hose during an underway replenishment with the Military Sealift Command fleet replenishment oiler USNS Patuxent (T-AO 201).
Photo Credit: U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jeffry A. Willadsen

Civilian mariners of the Military Sealift Command are responsible for the Navy’s 29 combat logistics force replenishment ships. “The skill and professionalism of our sailors and civilian mariners in the execution of safe and efficient UNREPS each year enable the Navy to remain on station around the world, protecting America from attack and when required, enabling decisive combat operations,” a NAVADMIN statement read.

Next Article