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Flint Leaves Its Mark in U.S. 7th Fleet

Navy Newsstand

Story Number: NNS040519-02

Release Date: 5/19/2004 9:11:00 AM

From Logistics Group Western Pacific Public Affairs

SINGAPORE (NNS) -- The ammunition ship USNS Flint (T-AE 32) departed U.S. 7th Fleet's area of responsibility (AOR) May 16, following a 20-month deployment.

Flint provided support during Iraq strike operations in 2003, and most recently served as the station ammunition ship for the USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63) Strike Group during its 2004 western Pacific spring deployment.

Flint traveled more than 19,000 nautical miles, moved more than 6,000 pallets of ordnance and conducted more than 20 replenishments at sea over the past three months.

"As the ready strike group, we could not have accomplished our mission without your unyielding support," wrote Rear Adm. Jamie Kelly, the strike group commander, in a May 13 message to Flint's crew. "Your crew's professionalism and enthusiasm in getting the job done safely and on schedule was noted during every ammo replenishment event."

As a Military Sealift Command (MSC) ship, Flint carries and distributes a strike group's Tailored Fleet Issue Load (TFIL). A TFIL consists of the required ordnance for a particular operation or contingencies. Flint sports a crew of approximately 120 civilian mariners (CIVMARs) and six active-duty Navy personnel, and also includes personnel from Helicopter Combat Support Squadron (HC) 5.

"Flint's crew worked long, stressful hours, from early in the morning until the wee hours of the following day in support of the war effort, providing ordnance support and resupply throughout Kitty Hawk's strike schedule," said Travis Hansen, Flint's cargo mate. The ship loaded Kitty Hawk's TFIL in September 2002 and supported the strike group through training, exercises and combat operations.

That level of dedication and support is routine, he said.

"The entire crew pulls together with every man and woman assigned to a station that directly supports the mission. From steering the ship, driving forklifts, running replenishment winches, or operating elevators, no crew member is without a job," Hansen added.

Sailors primarily man the signal bridge, control tower and communications stations, but are often called upon to assist the civilian cargo team with the heavy work, according to Senior Chief Operations Specialist Arthur Jocson, officer-in-charge of the military detachment. It's a team effort he emphasized, praising his civilian counterparts.

"I tell you," Jocson said, "these CIVMARS are the most efficient bunch of workers I have seen. This is my first tour with MSC, and I am impressed with how they do their business."

Just prior to departing the 7th Fleet AOR, the Flint crew transferred the Kitty Hawk Strike Group's TFIL in what Rear Adm. Kevin Quinn, commander of the 7th Fleet Logistics Force, described as a "remarkable five-day period." Flint issued nearly 4,000 loads of ordnance material to USNS Kiska (T-AE 35) and received nearly 1,500 from USNS Shasta (T-AE 33) in back-to-back fleet operational events.

"Your superior support to the fleet and mission accomplishment is second to none," Quinn said in his message to the ship's crew as it departed 7th Fleet and headed toward the U.S. 3rd Fleet AOR.

Ammunition ships operated by Military Sealift Command provide under way replenishment of all types of ammunition, via connected replenishment and vertical replenishment methods.

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