The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration (MARAD) today activated two more Ready Reserve Force
(RRF) ships to support Operation Enduring Freedom. The activations follow orders received from the U.S. Navy’s Military Sealift Command. The two ships, the CAPE LOBOS and the CAPE LAMBERT
, are part of the James River Reserve Fleet anchored near Fort Eustis, VA.
“The maritime community has served America with great distinction during every major crisis in our Nation’s history, and the mariners who crew the ships are the cornerstone of this effort,” said U.S. Secretary of Transportation Norman Y. Mineta. “From the Revolutionary War, through both World Wars and up to today, our mariners have willingly defended and served this nation with enthusiasm and valor.”
The recently-activated ships join 32 others already activated to support Operation Enduring Freedom. These, combined with four others on long-term assignment, bring the total of activated MARAD RRF ships to 38. The CAPE LAMBERT and the CAPE LOBOS are both Roll-On/Roll-Off vehicle carriers.
For more than 25 years, MARAD’s RRF has augmented the Military Sealift Command’s 125-ship cargo fleet. The ships were used in Operations DESERT SHIELD and DESERT STORM and more recently in Haiti, Somalia, Croatia, Bosnia, and for humanitarian support as part of Hurricane "Mitch" relief in Central America.
“The RRF is a great asset because it provides efficient sealift, tailored to meet the requirements of the military. The program also supports vital marine industries and labor unions that have been in decline, but are critical to support our nation in times of war,” Maritime Administrator Capt. William Schubert stated. All RRF ships are crewed by American merchant mariners who volunteer for this potentially difficult duty.