BY SKY M. LARON, DIRECTOR OF CORPORATE COMMUNICATIONS
NAVSUP FLEET LOGISTICS CENTER YOKOSUKA
U.S. Navy Sailors from NAVSUP Fleet Logistics Center (FLC) Yokosuka were welcomed aboard USNS Millinocket (T-EPF 3) for a familiarization tour Sept. 16 during the ship’s visit to Yokosuka Naval Base.
The Expeditionary Fast Transport (EPF) (formerly designated the Joint High Speed Vessel) is operated by Military Sealift Command (MSC), which is the leading provider of ocean transportation for the Navy and the rest of the Department of Defense (DoD) – allowing for continuous, sustained operations at sea.
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USNS Millinocket (T-EPF 3) Master Capt. Erwin Lao (center-right), speaks with Sailors from NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka on the ship’s flight deck Sept. 16 while in port at Yokosuka Naval Base.
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Yamil Sanchez (center), USNS Millinocket’s chief mate, discusses the capability of one of the ship’s four 50,000 horsepower jet engines with Sailors from NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka.
“Gaining a better understanding of the operating requirements of MSC assets allows us to better deliver on our promise of delivering the best logistics services available,” said Lt. Cmdr. Eric Gardner, NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka, operational support officer.
The USNS Millinocket is a 338-foot-long aluminum catamaran that is designed to be fast, flexible and maneuverable, even in shallow waters, making them an ideal platform for transporting troops and equipment quickly within a theater of operation. The ship has a 20,000-square-foot mission bay area that can be reconfigured to quickly adapt to whatever mission the ship is tasked with, such as carrying containerized portable hospitals or transporting tanks and troops.
“It was awesome to learn the capabilities, seeing the technology from the engine room to the bridge, and spending time with our customer to understand their mission and requirements,” said Cmdr. Michael Schilling, NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka, operations department director. “Fast transports need fast turnaround times, be it onloads or offloads, their mission is an important one and we must move just as fast to support.”
EPFs are capable of transporting 600 tons of military troops, vehicles, supplies and equipment 1,200 nautical miles at a high average speed of 35 knots and can operate in shallow-draft, austere ports and waterways, providing U.S. forces added mobility and flexibility.
The EPFs’ aviation flight decks can support day and night flight operations. Each EPF also has sleeping accommodations for up to 146 personnel and airline–style seating for up to 312.
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Yamil Sanchez (center-right), USNS Millinocket’s chief mate, discusses the high tech capabilities with Sailors on the bridge.
Millinocket Master Capt. Erwin Lao discussed how technically advanced the ship’s engineering and navigation systems are which provide for a very high level of operational flexibility.
However, because the platform is so new, there are differences in the requirements it needs, said Lao.
“The support team here has been very helpful and proactive with all of our requests and gave me options,” said Lao.
Sailors, Marines, Japanese Master Labor Contract and United States Civil Service employees at NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka provide the daily logistics support for ships like Millinocket as well as Navy, Marine Corps, DoD and other federal activity customers within the 7th Fleet area of responsibility.
“USNS Millinocket plays a strategic role in replenishing subsistence as well as parts and supplies to our forward deployed ships,” said Lt. j.g. Jessica Magallanes, NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka, customer service officer. “[NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka] is the ultimate provider of provisions, so when Millinocket sends their subsistence requisitions to our team we coordinate with our subsistence prime vendors to ensure their order is fulfilled and delivered on time.”
“Additionally, we process the other subsistence requisitions from deployed ships that rely on the Millinocket to deliver their orders,” said Magallanes, adding that along with all her logistics partners in the region, NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka always ensures successful delivery of food and parts.
On any given day there are 50 to 70 ships and submarines, 140 aircraft and 20,000 Sailors working in the 7th Fleet. The NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka team is tracking all those ships individually, supporting their material and port visit requirements, their consumable stores, equipment, parts as well as mail from home.
So whether you are aboard one of the U.S. Navy’s newest EPF vessels or any other vessel plying the blue waters of the Asia Pacific, there will always be supply experts ready, ensuring mission accomplishment.