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U.S. Fleet Forces Command (USFFC)

USNS Medgar Evers conducts shipboard qualification trials

by Bill Mesta, USN Military Sealift Command
27 July 2022

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220715-N-OH262-0818 ATLANTIC OCEAN (July 15, 2022)-Able Bodied Seaman Rosanita Coleman, a Civil Service Mariner serving aboard the dry cargo, ammunition ship USNS Medgar Evers (T-AKE 13) uses signal paddles to communicate with CIVMARs aboard MSC's fleet replenishment oiler USNS Kanawha (T-AO 196) during an underway replenishment at sea, July 15. (U.S. Navy photo by Bill Mesta/released)
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220715-N-OH262-0818
220715-N-OH262-0818 ATLANTIC OCEAN (July 15, 2022)-Able Bodied Seaman Rosanita Coleman, a Civil Service Mariner serving aboard the dry cargo, ammunition ship USNS Medgar Evers (T-AKE 13) uses signal paddles to communicate with CIVMARs aboard MSC's fleet replenishment oiler USNS Kanawha (T-AO 196) during an underway replenishment at sea, July 15. (U.S. Navy photo by Bill Mesta/released)
Photo By: Bill Mesta
VIRIN: 220715-N-OH262-0818
ATLANTIC OCEAN — The Civil Service Mariners (CIVMAR) who crew Military Sealift Command’s dry cargo ammunition ship USNS Medgar Evers (T-AKE 13) took the ship to sea in the Atlantic Ocean to perform Shipboard Qualification Trials (SQT), July 14-17.

SQTs are an extensive series of qualifications, certification and training evolutions which must be completed and maintained by MSC ships to be considered operational and prepared for active deployment. Primarily USNS Medgar Evers must be qualified to deliver cargo, such as fuel, food, repair parts and supplies, to U.S. Navy and allied combatant ships via underway replenishment at-sea (UNREP) services; allowing their customers to remain underway without pulling into port for re-supply.

“SQT’s are an opportunity to make sure all of our people and equipment are ready to support Navy operations with underway replenishment at-sea (UNREP) services,” said Capt. Zachery Daniels, Ship’s Master for USNS Medgar Evers. “We have to ensure that before the crew performs any operational UNREPs we are fully trained and qualified to support.”
Recent real-world events during the COVID-19 pandemic have highlighted the importance of logistics to organizational and institutional success.

“In a real sense, our CIVMARs are the ‘essential workers of the sea’,”
Daniels said. “When our society encounters circumstances where important supplies such as medicine, food or toiletries can’t be delivered, everybody suffers.”

“The same applies for the Navy or our warfighters who support our national defense,” he added. “If we can’t deliver repair parts, people, food, fuel or supplies to where they need to be when they need to be there, this would cause a very detrimental impact on our combatants’ ability to carry out their mission.”

USNS Medgar Evers performed the SQTs with MSC’s fleet replenishment oiler USNS Kanawha (T-AO 196) and fast combat support ship USNS Arctic (T-AOE 8).

USNS Medgar Evers, USNS Kanawha and USNS Arctic are all members of MSC’s Combat Logistics Force. CLF ships are the supply lines for U.S. Navy ships at se. These ships provide virtually everything that Navy ships need to remain at sea and combat ready for extended periods of time.

“An underway replenishment at sea is a phrase which describes our capability to deliver and receive fuel, stores and parts while remaining underway,” according to Daniels. “Typically two ships pull alongside one another, we pass cargo cable systems and fuel rigging across between each ship and deliver the required products.”

“We also use the vertical replenishment at sea capability where helicopters lift palletized cargo off the flight deck of one ship and deliver it to the receiving ship,” he added.

On July 15, USNS Medgar Evers delivered fuel and cargo to USNS Kanawha in support of the fleet oiler’s SQTs efforts. On July 16. USNS Arctic delivered fuel and cargo to USNS Medgar Evers in support of the dry cargo ammunition ship’s SQTs efforts.

“Dry cargo ammunition ships were designed and built to move cargo; and they do an excellent job at moving large volumes of cargo,” said Daniels. “Some of the equipment which is critical for us to be able to perform these missions is our cranes, fueling rigs, cargo rigs and our flight deck. But the key factor for our success is the people; the people who crew the ship are who make it all go and ensure success.”

USNS Medgar Evers was crewed by approximately 100 CIVMARs who provided all services and support for the ship at sea during the underway period.

“MSC CLF ships have larger crews than our typical commercial maritime partners because our ships are not automated and our mission and functions are designed to be carried out at sea as opposed to in port,” Daniels stated. “At the end of the day, we could have all the people in the world aboard but they must be training and qualified to perform our missions and keep the cargo moving.”

Some of the services provided by USNS Medgar Evers include engineering, navigation, hotel services, galley services, communications and cargo management.

“We aboard USNS Medgar Evers are very fortunate to have a lot of really good people who crew the ship,” stated Daniels. “For this particular underway, the crew has performed excellently. The ship just completed a major shipyard period for repairs and maintenance. The crew has done an excellent job of doing all the ‘double-checks’ to ensure everything works properly and welcoming new CIVMARs aboard into the fold and making sure everybody is training and ready to go.”

Once back in port, USNS Medgar Evers is going to take part in a week of pier-side damage control training evolutions. The ship will spend the next number of months completing all of its SQTs so this the crew and vessel will be ready to support the needs of the U.S. Navy.


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