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Monday, May 09, 2005

A question answered

In addition to the cruisers, destroyers and aircraft carriers, the US Navy operates a fleet of ships that support its combat forces. Most of these support vessels fall under the command of the Military Sealift Command (which is turn belongs to the Transportation Command or TransCom). Among these ships are fleet oilers, which carry the fuel the fleet needs for operations and which can be transferred at sea during replenishment at sea operations. These are vitally important ships, as are other MSC vessels. How do these large but normally unarmed vessels protect themselves from attack by small boats operated by terrorists? At least part of the answer is provided by this following photo and caption (from the DOD War of Terrorism site):

U.S. Navy Seaman Matthew Ramer looks through binoculars for small boats while crossing the Strait of Hormuz aboard USNS Walter S. Diehl, May 5, 2005. Ramer is a master at arms assigned to Mobile Security Detachment 24, aboard the Diehl, which is currently in the Arabian Gulf conducting refueling operations with the fleet in support of anti-terrorism efforts in the Horn of Africa region. U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Aaron Ansarov


USNS Walter S. Diehl

Info on USNS Walter S. Diehl here and on the Henry J. Kaiser class of fleet oilers here.

Update: Some background info on Mobile Security Detachments here.

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