USS COMSTOCK, At Sea – Sailors and Marines aboard amphibious dock landing ship USS Comstock (LSD 45) conducted an underway replenishment (UNREP) with dry cargo and ammunition ship USNS Alan Shepard (T-AKE 3), April 9.
In order for Comstock to support the Navy’s mission effectively, it must be able to stay at sea for extended periods of time. UNREPs make this possible by using ships such as Alan Shepard to transfer supplies, fuel, munitions and personnel while underway.
“The ability of the U.S. Navy to replenish at sea provides for continuity of operations,” said Cmdr. Lance Lesher, Comstock’s commanding officer. “It allows our forces complete freedom to maneuver, regardless if nearby territories are friendly.”
Vertical replenishment (VERTREP) operations were also conducted as part of the UNREP. VERTREPs are transfers of pallets between the vessels by helicopter. An AS332 Super Puma helicopter embarked aboard Alan Shepard transferred 76 pallets of supplies, parts and mail to Comstock.
“During VERTREPs we get a lot of needed parts and supplies to keep us going, but none are more important to the individuals aboard than the mail,” said Comstock’s Command Master Chief Rick Helwick. “While emails are great, letters and packages from our loved ones back home are more personal, have greater meaning and can really brighten a Sailor or Marine’s day.”
Once pallets were delivered aboard ship, a working party of Sailors and Marines was organized to move the supplies to designated storerooms where divisional representatives organized and distributed the mail.
More than 400 Sailors and Marines worked throughout the ship for more than four hours to bring the supplies aboard as the bridge teams of both ships maintained appropriate course, speed and spacing to allow the safe transfer of 105,000 gallons of fuel to Comstock.
“This UNREP was highly successful,” said Lesher. “Comstock and its associated forces were able to replenish food, fuel and supplies while also providing a demonstration of our commitment and resolve to maintenance of the seas for all nations.”
Comstock, as part of the Boxer Amphibious Ready Group (BOXARG), is assigned to Combined Task Force (CTF) 151 within Combined Maritime Forces, a multi-national coalition conducting counter piracy and maritime security operations in the Arabian Sea, Gulf of Aden and Somali Basin.