By MC1 Micah Blechner, CTF 73 Public Affairs
USNS Red Cloud (T-AKR 313), left, and USNS Montford Point (ESD 1) conduct “skin-to-skin” operations, July 11. (U.S. Navy photo) >>
SAIPAN - The expeditionary transfer dock USNS Montford Point (T-ESD 1) wrapped up a series of “skin-to-skin” operations in the vicinity of Saipan, July 22.
The operations took place over the course of 17 days and included complex maneuvering and positioning drills with ships from Maritime Prepositioning Squadron (MPSRON) 3.
“Skin-to-skin operations are game-changers when it comes to supporting the Marine Corps and other expeditionary forces with greater flexibility at sea,” said Mr. Paul Grgas, deputy director of operations for the Military Sealift Command Far East. “Expeditionary transfer docks like Montford Point can operate off shore and augment ship to shore movements during amphibious operations.”
During the skin-to-skin operations, USNS Soderman (T-AKR 317), USNS Red Cloud (T-AKR 313), and USNS Stockham (T-AK 3017), rehearsed the transfer of equipment and cargo with Montford Point.
Skin-to-skin operations occur when two ships connect at sea allowing specialized vessels like Montford Point to operate as a floating pier for simulated offload operations.
The skin-to-skin drills build proficiency for ships like Montford Point to operate at sea for a sustained period and transfer large cargo from prepositioning ships for use by forces ashore and afloat.
The Military Sealift Command operates approximately 115 non-combatant, civilian-crewed ships that replenish U.S. Navy ships, conduct specialized missions, strategically preposition combat cargo at sea around the world and move military cargo and supplies used by deployed U.S. forces and coalition partners.
MPSRON 3, operating in the Western Pacific, maintains tactical control of the 12 ships carrying afloat prepositioned U.S. military cargo for the U.S. Marine Corps, the U.S. Army, and the U.S. Air Force. The squadron’s mission is to enable force from the sea by providing swift and effective transportation of vital equipment and supplies for designated operations.