Fleet Thankful for Service of Civilian Mariners

Photo By Leslie Hull-Ryde | The fleet replenishment oiler USNS Tippecanoe (T-AO 199) conducts a replenishment at sea with USS Curtis Wilbur (DDG 54), an Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer. Tippecanoe and other ships in Military Sealift Command Far East’s combat logistics force keep U.S. and international partners’ ships operating in the Indo-Pacific Region supplied with all the essentials, including food, fuel, spare parts, and all the fixings for a traditional Thanksgiving meal. (U.S. Navy photo by Christopher Bosch)



Story by Cmdr. Leslie Hull-Ryde 

Military Sealift Command Far East 

While Charlie Brown served his friends toast, popcorn, jelly beans, and pretzels for Thanksgiving, that menu might not fly aboard the U.S. Navy ships deployed in the Indo-Pacific Region for the annual holiday.

If culinary specialists tried serving those Peanuts staples, crews might roar, just as Peppermint Patty did in the 1973 classic cartoon, A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving by Charles M. Schulz.

“What kind of Thanksgiving dinner is this? Where’s the turkey, Chuck? Don’t you know anything about Thanksgiving dinners? Where’s the mashed potatoes? Where’s the cranberry sauce? Where’s the pumpkin pie?”

That’s just one reason Military Sealift Command ships have been crisscrossing the region, delivering the more traditional fare to U.S. Navy ships which prepared hundreds of turkeys for thousands of Sailors who spent the holiday away from family and friends.

“This is a special time of year for many of our afloat shipmates,” said Lt. Cmdr. Tyheem Sweat combat logistics force officer with Military Sealift Command Far East.

“We have been filling holiday orders for some time to make sure crews enjoy a traditional holiday feast, just like they would have at home.”

Turkeys and potatoes for mashing aren’t the only items MSC FE delivers to the fleet. Whatever U.S. Navy ships need on any given day to accomplish their mission is delivered anywhere in the Indo-Pacific Region – that includes food, fuel, spare parts, and ordnance, among other essentials.

Assuring global maritime logistical services is the heart of the MSC mission. As part of the Navy’s supply chain, Military Sealift Command exists to provide unfailing support to warfighters during peacetime and war – and the holidays.

Military leaders at all levels believe logistics is a strategic necessity – one vital to mission accomplishment.

For the past several months, COVID-19 has complicated logistics and thrown some curve balls at MSC Far East. Despite the challenges the pandemic has posed, civilian mariners remain unwaveringly committed to their important mission of keeping the fleet afloat – even though they, too, are underway and sacrificing precious time away from family and friends.

Commanders and crews alike say they are thankful for MSC FE and the critical contributions its crews make – not just on morale during special occasions but on mission accomplishment – every day.

“You can always count on MSC to deliver,” said Rear Adm. Joey Tynch, commander of Logistics Group Western Pacific and Task Force 73.

“It doesn’t matter if it’s a holiday or a regular weekday, the civilian mariners of our combat logistics force are on watch and doing great things.”

Now that the Thanksgiving dishes are done, MSC FE will help Santa deliver hundreds of packages to service members in the Indo-Pacific Region. Even Santa appreciates the importance of military logistics, whether it’s the essentials for mission accomplishments or the special surprises that help boost morale while on deployment.

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