By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Byron C. Linder, Det.
Sailors of the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain (DDG 56) provided needed personnel, repair parts, food stores and mail to USS Lassen (DDG 82), March 15.
At sunrise, the two warships met in the and commenced vertical replenishment at sea (VERTREP). The embarked team of Helicopter Antisubmarine Squadron Light (HSL) 51 provided helo support to move the goods.
John S. McCain's Supply Department arranged for the delivery to the Lassen due to Lassen's short-notice operational tasking. Supply Officer, Lt. Todd Malaki, John S. McCain, noted the ship's ability to fill a role normally assigned to a replenishment ship was efficiently executed.
"This was planned in a quick e-mail," Malaki said. "Lassen needed support, we got together with (Operations Department) to make the schedule change and we were able to help the ship. We got all this arranged in less than a day. We delivered two ports worth of goods – totaling 24 pallets in all."
Ship's Serviceman 1st Class (SW) Ledrick Lackey of said the amount of time for planning did not hinder John S. McCain's ability to execute.
"We've done this before and it's good to be helping out," Lackey said. "It was a smooth evolution."
Lackey added John S. McCain's role in the forward-deployed naval forces (FDNF) was prepared to answer the call for service at short notice because of operational commitments.
"FDNF is challenging," Lackey said. "Here, it's all about being well-prepared on short notice. You never know what's going to happen and today we had to get everything a ship needed to sustain itself."
John S. McCain's Commanding Officer, Cmdr. John S. Banigan, said the crew was happy to assist their fellow Sailors in need.
"My claim to each ship has been, and continues to be, USS John S. McCain stands ready to and will support," Banigan said. "Whether a radar repair or critical part support, we will do what is necessary to support. I wasn't expecting this mission – one of parts, fuel and personnel delivery - but I'm glad our crew was called to help a sister-ship in her real world operational need. The crew responded with great success, but I didn't expect less. The highly professional Sailors of Lassen and HSL 51 are now operating with the needed materials to secure her continued combat readiness."