ATLANTIC OCEAN --- Standing NATO Maritime Group One (SNMG1) forces conduct multiple replenishments-at-sea alongside Military Sealift Command (MSC) ships as the group has operations in the Atlantic Ocean.
SNMG1 forces worked with the Henry J. Kaiser-class underway replenishment oiler USNS Patuxent (T-AO 20) and the Lewis and Clark-class dry cargo ship USNS Robert E. Peary (T-AKE 5) on multiple occasions to receive supplies, stores and fuel while at sea.
“As NATO maritime forces continue to adapt to meet modern challenges, our logistics must also evolve to support our mission to ensure the security of the Alliance,” said Rear Adm. Edward Cashman, commander, SNMG1. “Operating back and forth the Atlantic Ocean brought sustainment challenges to the maritime group. With the help of MSC, SNMG1and NATO Allies are able to bridge the distance between Europe and North America while meeting logistics requirements.”
MSC provides support to maritime forces with on-time logistics, strategic sealift, as well as specialized missions around the world. While MSC typically services U.S. Navy vessels, they are playing a vital role in providing SNMG1 forces with the necessary resources to meet operational requirements.
"The capabilities of Patuxent and her crew and the requirements for NATO Allies to sustain operations at sea make for a perfect match," said Mike Ricci, the T-AO program manager for Military Sealift Command. "Our specialization in providing logistics such as food, mail and fuel enables the Alliance to operate uninterrupted anywhere in the world. Maritime forces thrive on the ability to be flexible and agile and the Patuxent crew is a key player in them maintaining that capacity."
The cooperation between MSC and SNMG1 also enables key training to be done under NATO's Maritime Express 2019 construct. The construct allows for the flexible identification of opportunities to build and maintain readiness by taking advantage of the inherent flexibility and agility of maritime forces.
"Our crews take pride in being a critical role to the sustainment of Allied forces during their time in the Atlantic," said Ricci. "Working alongside NATO Allies does not happen often for us, but by them coming to us, it greatly increases the time we have to work and train together, therefore enabling us to easily integrate during future operations."
SNMG1 includes the flagship U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyer USS Gridley (DDG 101), the Royal Norwegian Navy frigate HNoMS Thor Heyerdahl (F-314), the Belgian Navy frigate Leopold I (F930), the Portuguese Navy frigate NRP D. Francisco de Almeida (F334), and the Royal Netherlands Navy frigate HNLMS Van Speijk (F 828).
SNMG1 is one of four standing maritime task groups composed of ships from various Allied countries. These task groups form the core maritime capabilities of NATO’s Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF). They provide a continuous maritime capability to execute NATO missions across the spectrum of operations, demonstrate solidarity, and strengthen diplomatic and professional links among allied naval forces.