Thursday, March 24, 2011

Maritime Prepositioning Ships Arrive for Port Visit in Split, Croatia

A roll-on roll-off discharge facility transports Marine Corps equipment between the Military Sealift Command container roll-on roll-off ship USNS 2nd LT John P. Bobo (T-AK 3008) and the dock landing ship USS Fort McHenry (LSD 43) during the Africa Partnership Station West Africa Training Cruise 08. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Elizabeth Merriam (Released)

By Kim Dixon, Military Sealift Command Public Affairs

NAPLES, Italy (NNS) -- Two U.S. Navy Maritime Prepositioning Force ships arrived off the coast of Split, Croatia, to conduct routine port visits March 24.

The civilian mariners and U.S. Navy crew members of Military Sealift Command ships USNS 2ND LT John P. Bobo (T-AK 3008) and USNS LCPL Roy M. Wheat (T-AK 3016), two of the four ships assigned to Maritime Prepositioning Ship (MPS) Squadron One, will have the opportunity to visit and experience the second largest urban center in Croatia, traditionally considered to be more than 1,700 years old.

Forward deployed to the Mediterranean Sea and Eastern Atlantic Ocean, MPS Squadron One ships operate in European waters without a permanent homeport, carrying equipment and supplies for rapid delivery to U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Europe, in major combat operations or other contingencies.

The squadron is commanded by Navy Capt. Michael F. Ott, with an embarked military staff of 11 military personnel and six civilians stationed aboard USNS Bobo. Each ship is crewed by approximately 30 U.S. merchant mariners who work for a private ship operating company under contract to MSC.

"Ships like USNS Bobo and USNS Wheat are prepositioned around the world to speed supplies to crisis areas when the need arises," said Ott.

There are 16 prepositioning ships in three MPS squadrons worldwide, strategically positioning supplies for the U.S. Marine Corps at sea. These supplies include wheeled and tracked vehicles, ammunition, food, water, cargo, hospital equipment, petroleum products and spare parts - ready for rapid delivery ashore when needed.

"We are fortunate to return to Split, Croatia," said Ott. "Visits such as this offer the opportunity to understand each other and bring us closer together."