MSC Ships Support Korean-defense Exercise

Friday, March 07, 2008
A water bladder on the pier at Chinhae naval base is filled by offshore petroleum distribution system ship MV Vice Adm. K.R. Wheeler (blue-hull ship in distance) Feb. 26 as part of a demonstration of the ship's capabilities during Exercise Key Resolve 2008.

Photo by Edward Baxter, Sealift Logistics Command Far East Public Affairs

Military Sealift Command personnel and ships demonstrated their ability to quickly respond to a breakout of hostilities on the Korean peninsula as part of exercise Key Resolve 2008, which ended today.

Key Resolve, formerly called Reception, Staging, Onward Movement and Integration, is one of two major South Korean-defense exercises held each year to improve U.S./Republic of Korea combat readiness and interoperability. The change in the name reflects a shift to a Republic of Korea-led program. MSC’s ships were on-scene even before the official start to the exercise on March 2, bringing vital equipment and supplies to the coalition forces. Maritime Prepositioning Ship USNS 1st Lt. Jack Lummus, using its stern ramp, discharged nearly 200 vehicles, including M1-A1 tanks, Humvees, trucks and armored personnel carriers for the 3rd Marine Expeditionary Force Feb. 19-20 at port in Chinhae. Lummus also offloaded one container of equipment using one of its shipboard cranes.

On Feb. 26, MSC’s offshore petroleum distribution system ship MV Vice Adm. K.R. Wheeler demonstrated its ability to pump fuel to forces operating ashore where port facilities are inadequate or non existent. Wheeler can lay reinforced pipe from as far as eight miles offshore and pump fuel from a tanker to land. For the Chinhae demonstration, about 2,600 feet of pipe was deployed from Wheeler and connected to a hose from Lummus’ Amphibious Bulk Liquid Transfer System, which is also designed to transfer liquid to shore. Combining the eight-mile pipe from Wheeler and two-mile hose from Lummus would allow the ships to have a reach as far as 10 miles. In Busan, more than 40 Navy reservists assigned to MSC, along with active duty and civilian counterparts from Military Sealift Command Office Korea, trained in procedures to manage a massive influx of cargo ships should conflict break out on the Korean peninsula. MSC reserve personnel also trained with their U.S. Army counterparts.

Lummus will remain pierside to reload the Marine Corps cargo used during the field portion of the exercise, while Wheeler returns to Guam. Both ships are assigned to Maritime Prepositioning Ship Squadron Three, operating near Guam and Saipan. The squadron includes 10 ships that carry equipment, fuel and supplies for the U.S. Marine Corps. Sixteen prepositioning ships like Lummus are strategically positioned at sea, laden with a variety of Marine Corps equipment and supplies ready for rapid delivery ashore when needed.

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