U.S. Maritime Administrator Capt. William Schubert today announced on August 26 that three Ready Reserve Force ships successfully completed readiness activation exercises. The three activated ships were the Grand Canyon State and the Gem State, both berthed in Alameda, California, and the Green Mountain State, berthed in Bremerton, Washington.
Schubert said, "Readiness exercises such as these keep our ships in shape to provide the support our Armed Forces need. Forty ships of the RRF provided sealift for the Iraqi conflict, and they had an operational reliability record of 98 percent. Success like that comes with practice."
Turbo Activations, sponsored and monitored by the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the U.S. Transportation Command, are made without notice. During an exercise, RRF ships are directed to shift from a reduced operating status to a fully crewed status, with the quarters made habitable and cargo gear ready, within four or five days. Activations are often followed immediately by a sea trial.
The Grand Canyon State, Gem State and Green Mountain State were successfully delivered to the Military Sealift Command
within their readiness time frames. The three ships are auxiliary crane vessels used to carry cargo. In addition, they can be used to load and unload other ships anywhere in the world and are particularly useful when port facilities have been damaged.
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration (MARAD) maintains the RRF, which is a fleet of 72 militarily useful ships. This fleet, located throughout the country, is maintained in a reserve status in the event that the Department of Defense needs these ships to support the rapid, massive movement of military supplies and troops for a military exercise or large-scale conflict. The ships are managed by commercial companies and crewed by civilian merchant mariners.
The American Maritime Officers and the Seafarers International Union provided crews for the ships. The management company for the Green Mountain State is American Overseas Marine Corporation of Quincy, Massachusetts; the management company for the Gem State and Grand Canyon State is Pacific Gulf Marine of New Orleans, Louisiana.