July 12, 2016 - Off the coast of Southern California and Camp Pendleton, two Military Sealift Command ships are conducting mission testing that brings the expeditionary transfer dock ship USNS John Glenn (T-ESD-2) closer to full operational capabilities.
|Expeditionary transfer dock ship USNS John Glenn (T-ESD-2) (right) and large, medium speed, roll-on/roll-off ship USNS GYSGT Fred W. Stockham (T-AK 3017) conduct ship-ship testing off the coast of Southern California.|
For the past week, Glenn and MSC large, medium-speed roll-on/roll-off ship USNS GYSGT Fred W. Stockham (T-AK 3017) have conducted ship-ship testing, which puts the ship within feet of each other, allowing a ramp to be extended between the ships for vehicle transfers. Working with Naval Beach Group 1, 26 vehicles were moved from Stockham to Glenn via vehicle transfer ramp during operations. In addition, Glenn conducted landing craft air cushion (LCAC) launch and recovery operations from its LCAC docking bays.
|Using an onboard crane, a vehicle transfer ramp is moved from large, medium speed/roll-on roll-off ship USNS GYSGT Fred W. Stockham (T-AK 3017) to expeditionary transfer dock ship USNS John Glenn (T-ESD-2).|
|Twenty-six vehicles were transferred to USNS John Glenn (T-ESD-2) from USNS GYSGT Fred W. Stockham (T-AK 3017) via the vehicle transfer ramp.|
Glenn is one of two Expeditionary Transfer Dock ships; a new concept, part of the Maritime Prepositioning Force. The ships are designed to support three LCACs, in addition to vehicle staging with a sideport ramp and large mooring fenders. Glenn’s mission will be as seagoing pier for friendly forces in case accessibility to onshore bases are denied such as following a natural disaster like a hurricane or typhoon, and for supporting US Marines once they are ashore.
“Being able to perform mission type elements in a non-mission environment is really important for this class of ship; especially since its platform is relatively new,” explained Lt. Cmdr. Brian Tague, Military Sealift Command Pacific’s EDS action officer. “Having the opportunity to work with the Navy Beach Group and the Marines who will be utilizing this technology in the future, allows us to evaluate operations and to make changes to ensure future operations will work efficiently, safely and as intended. Every time we’re able to take these ships out and exercise with them is beneficial and exciting. There is nothing like being feet away from another ship, doing operations, while at sea. It’s a rush!”
|USNS GYSGT Fred W. Stockham (left) and USNS John Glenn demonstrate the close distance between the ships during ship-ship operations.|
Glenn’s testing is being conducted in conjunction with U.S. Pacific Command Amphibious Leaders Symposium 2016 (PALS-16). Representatives from 22 partner and allied nations from around the Indo-Asia Pacific region are meeting in in San Diego, July 10-15. As part of their symposium, the group will ride to the Glenn via LCAC, dock on the ship and then tour, witness vehicle transfers demonstrations, and discuss future operational opportunities.
PALS brings together senior leaders of allied and partner nations to have a meaningful dialogue on key aspects of amphibious operations, crisis response, sea-basing, capability development and interoperability. The four-day symposium allows senior leaders to share their ideas, provide a better understanding of their own amphibious capabilities and to help set goals for their forces to achieve. Engagements in the Indo-Asia Pacific such as PALS and other exercises result in better training and interoperability with our friends and partners throughout the region; they also pave the way for enhanced regional stability and economic ties that are beneficial to all.