Expeditionary fast transport ship USNS Millinocket (T-EPF 3) file photo. (U.S. Navy/MCC Christopher E. Tucker)
The utilization of platforms like Millinocket for logistical support operations enhances the ability of the U.S. 7th Fleet to conduct agile expeditionary logistics during operational contingencies and peacetime operations.
“Millinocket is a multi-mission platform and we’re testing the ship’s ability to conduct command and control of logistics assets in a variety of expeditionary environments,” said Cmdr. Alex Davila, N5 plans and exercises director for COMLOG WESTPAC/Task Force 73. “Ulchi Freedom Guardian provided an ideal venue for our staff to direct logistical operations and coordinate closely with operators across the fleet and throughout the Korean peninsula.”
During the exercise, logisticians and reserve personnel assumed watch stations aboard Millinocket; monitoring, tracking, and coordinating the movement of fuel, supplies, and ordnance within the table-top scenario.
“The success of maritime operations is dependent upon logistics and enabling the operators to be in the right place with the necessary tools to complete their mission,” said Cmdr. Paul Porter, commanding officer of the Logistics Readiness Center, reserve detachment.
The utilization of Millinocket as a command and control platform for expeditionary logistics enhances flexibility, according to staff logisticians.
“It offers tactical flexibility which is important during any operational contingency,” said Lt. Cmdr. Christopher Noa, battle watch captain. “It gives us the ability to continue operations and complete our mission even if shore-based logistical support becomes compromised or limited in any way.”
The watch stations on Millinocket are a proof-of-concept for future expeditionary logistics. Exercise participants said the operations were a tangible step forward in fully developing the capability.
“We experienced some challenges with communication and coordination, but we worked through those issues and learned how to operate from an alternative watch floor,” said Noa. “We’re taking everything we learned during the exercise so we can benefit from our experiences and develop solutions that move us closer to the full potential of this concept.”
COMLOG WESTPAC is the U.S. 7th Fleet's provider of combat-ready distributed -logistics, operating government-owned and contracted ships to keep units throughout 7th Fleet armed, fueled, and fed.
Ulchi Freedom Guardian is a Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff-sponsored, Commander, PACOM-directed, United Nations Command, Combined Forces Command, and U.S. Forces Korea annual joint/combined command post exercise. The purpose of the exercise is to enhance the combat readiness of ROK and U.S. supporting forces through combined and joint training while improving ROK-U.S. combat readiness, and combined and joint interoperability.