BY CANDICE VILLARREAL, OFFICE OF CORPORATE COMMUNICATIONS NAVSUP FLC SAN DIEGO
When San Diego received its newest littoral combat ship (LCS) Nov. 8, Sailors and civilians assigned to NAVSUP Fleet Logistics Center (FLC) San Diego were standing by, ready to welcome an already familiar crew.
The newly-commissioned USS Montgomery (LCS 8) left Austal Shipyard in Mobile, Alabama, for western waters in September, with NAVSUP FLC San Diego’s Logistics Support Team (LST) poised to provide it with the critical logistics support it needed along the way. Perhaps most remarkably, however, is they provided those innovative services remotely, from the sunny shores of California.
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USS Montgomery (LCS 8) is the fourth LCS of the Independence variety, which features an innovative, trimaran hull, designed to offer unparalleled stability for marine and aviation operations in severe sea states. –photo by Seaman Trenton Kotlarz
“We managed their budget, ordered their food, ordered their fuel, managed their inventory of consumable items and repair parts, and coordinated operational support services for things like material delivery and transportation,” said Lt. Cmdr. Brendan Hogan, LST director. “We essentially take supply department responsibilities away from these ships, allowing them to focus more intently on their missions. We want to make sure their hands are free to focus on anti-submarine warfare, mine countermeasures, or surface warfare missions, wherever our country needs them.”
NAVSUP FLC San Diego’s LST serves as the operational and tactical support partner ashore for littoral combat ships. From food service management to logistics, husbanding and port service coordination, LST Sailors and civilians act as the action hub responsible for maintaining the ships’ operational readiness.
The LST, established in 2008, provides around-the-clock support to the first eight LCS ships as they navigate in dynamic and uncertain theaters. Because the ships do not have fully-staffed supply departments like other surface combatants, LST personnel often must anticipate the smaller crew’s needs.
The team procured almost 28,000 food line items for LCS ships in fiscal year 2016 alone. Additionally, the team coordinated and processed a substantial amount of fuel requirements, purchases, and high-priority repair parts during the same time period, respectively.
“I think the most important part of our jobs is posturing ourselves to support LCS program or requirement changes, whenever necessary,” said Hogan. “When we can meet these Fleet-specific needs, it allows combatant commanders to meet their own undertakings and obligations.”
As the Navy’s mission around the globe expands, the command’s mission and supporting role are evolving, making organizational agility more important than ever. Fast, efficient support from the shoreline to the cutting-edge vessel at sea allows LCS commanders to operate forward in unpredictable environments, while countering the challenging threats the ships were built to overcome.
“In recent months, we’ve been privileged to support some really significant events for these platforms,” said Hogan. “We supported the first ever 7th Fleet deployments for USS Fort Worth (LCS 3) and USS Coronado (LCS 4), and sail-aways and shock trials for USS Milwaukee (LCS 5), USS Jackson (LCS 6), and USS Detroit (LCS 7). That’s some really historic work coming out of our little, shore-based division.”
The San Diego team is already planning for growth in support of future San Diego-based LCS combatants. The LST currently supports LCS ships with hull numbers 1-8, and will begin supporting USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS 10) in February.
“When you look at everything this team has accomplished for these ships, you realize what a remarkable job our Navy is doing to maintain our maritime superiority,” said Commanding Officer Capt. Michelle Morse. “Like the U.S. Navy as a whole, this team is flexible, well-trained, and ready to operate in any capacity necessary to ensure success. That’s really the name of the game, and we’re proud to be a part of it.”