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CHIPS Articles: A View of USNS Arctic

A View of USNS Arctic
By Petty Officer 3rd Class Cole Keller, USS Dwight D. Eisenhower Public Affairs - November 29, 2016
ARABIAN GULF (NNS) -- While the Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group (Ike CSG) leads the way in support of Operation Inherent Resolve by flying combat missions and providing presence, Military Sealift Command fast combat support ship USNS Arctic (T-AOE 8) plays a key role in making the CSG's success possible.

Arctic supports all the ships, and gives them everything they need to stay on station and continue their mission.

The United States is one of the few countries in the world which maintains the ability to have an operational aircraft carrier and provide the logistics to support it. The noncombatant, civilian-crewed ships of Military Sealift Command make this possible by providing everything from fuel, food, mail, and replacement parts.

"I absolutely love this ship; I wouldn't be here if I didn't," said Master Joseph Goodwin, whose position on Arctic is equal to that of a commanding officer aboard a Navy vessel. "I love supporting the Sailors aboard the ships we replenish. It's extremely rewarding to see them receive mail and supplies, [and] we are the Navy's best asset when it comes to logistics."

Arctic is readily equipped to provide for several platforms, day or night. The ship is capable of storing more than 7 million gallons of fuel, 750 tons of food stores, and more than 2,000 tons of ammunition.

In 2002, in an effort to increase efficiency, USS Artic (AOE 8) was transferred to MSC. It went from a Sailor-manned combatant ship to a civilian-manned noncombatant ship. This change freed up Sailors to fill critical billets on warfighting ships and allowed Arctic to spend more time at sea.

"We are a professional and efficient group of mariners," said Chief Mate Matthew Sobey, whose position is the Navy equivalent of an executive officer. "We work around the clock to provide anything and everything a naval vessel needs. The men and women aboard take an enormous amount of pride in supporting America's Navy."

Filling the role of what used to be a 700-man crew, Arctic's crew of 176 civilian mariners work tirelessly in an effort to bring vital supplies to the more than 7,500 Sailors in the strike group. Arctic was constructed with dual rudders and dual propellers, which allow her to steam at high speeds and keep up with warships in the strike group. Because of its design, the ship can simultaneously conduct a replenishment-at-sea on both sides.

Being tethered to another ship and restricted in movement can make a vessel vulnerable, but because of the speed and efficiency, Arctic greatly reduces the time alongside.

"After spending half of the deployment on a carrier, it's incredible to see the work that goes into getting supplies from shore to ship," said Petty Officer 3rd Class Joseph Snider, who works as a naval aviation rescue swimmer. "I direct the helicopter to pick up and land almost every pallet that goes from Arctic to Ike. None of it could be possible without the skill and professionalism of civil service mariners who support us."

Arctic keeps an air detachment of more than 30 Sailors who operate and maintain two MH-60S Seahawk helicopters for use in vertical replenishments.

"As a T-AOE class, we combine the abilities of an oiler and a stores ship," Sobey explained. "That doubles the work and cuts the time alongside in half. It's our job to make sure the customer has everything they need."

The T-AOE class combines the capabilities of multiple supply ships. It offers the three necessities which force a ship to discontinue its warfighting efforts and pull into port: food, fuel, and ammunition.

"It's extremely high tempo here," said Geoffrey Polinder, the ship's navigator. "There are so many moving parts, and because of the nature of the ship we get pulled in a lot of different directions. The crew does a fantastic job of meeting any demands any strike group can place on them. From ice cream to bombs, we've got it all."

Ike, embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 3 and the Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group (Ike CSG) are deployed in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, maritime security operations, and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations.

For more information, visit http://www.navy.mil, http://www.facebook.com/usnavy, or http://www.twitter.com/usnavy.

For more news from USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69), visit http://www.navy.mil/local/cvn69/.

ARABIAN GULF (Nov. 25, 2016) The guided-missile cruiser USS San Jacinto (CG 56) approaches USNS Artic (T-AOE 8) to conduct an underway replenishment. San Jacinto, deployed as part of the Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group, is supporting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations. U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Andrew J. Sneeringer.
ARABIAN GULF (Nov. 25, 2016) The guided-missile cruiser USS San Jacinto (CG 56) approaches USNS Artic (T-AOE 8) to conduct an underway replenishment. San Jacinto, deployed as part of the Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group, is supporting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations. U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Andrew J. Sneeringer.

ARABIAN GULF (Nov. 23, 2016) The aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) receives fuel from the fast combat support ship USNS Arctic (T-AOE 8) during a replenishment-at-sea. Arctic is deployed supporting coalition maritime forces ships in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations. U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Cole Keller.
ARABIAN GULF (Nov. 23, 2016) The aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) receives fuel from the fast combat support ship USNS Arctic (T-AOE 8) during a replenishment-at-sea. Arctic is deployed supporting coalition maritime forces ships in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations. U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Cole Keller.
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