CTF 43 Serves as Key in SOUTHCOM Logistics
Story Number: NNS050518-15
Release Date: 5/18/2005 12:50:00 PM
From Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command Public Affairs
MAYPORT, Fla. (NNS) -- From people to parts and supplies, Commander, Task Force (CTF) 43 is the logistic hub for every U.S. naval ship and aircraft in the U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) area of responsibility (AOR), an area spanning 15.6 million square miles.
Employing a fraction of the personnel found in other task forces with similar missions throughout the world, the staff of 11 Sailors and civilians provides 24/7 support that has become invaluable to ships and squadrons deployed to the AOR.
“It’s very rewarding, being in the mainstream and helping our assets complete their mission effectively,” explained Cmdr. E.C. Helme, commander, Task Force 43.
That success is constantly felt on the deckplates of ships in the SOUTHCOM AOR. USS DeWert (FFG 45) recently returned from a successful counter-narco-terrorism deployment.
“In every aspect of support, from stores to fuel and repairs, the (CTF 43) are keeping our ships fully operational and ready to meet all commitments,” said Cmdr. Mark DeClue, DeWert’s commanding officer. “CTF 43 quickly responded to our needs, pursuing every possible option for making things happen.”
The coordination and delivery of more than 600,000 pounds of parts and supplies per year doesn’t come easy. CTF 43 must closely monitor the material readiness status of any ship or aircraft coming into or departing the AOR. This requires constant coordination with other service components, as well as civilian contractors.
“We get the parts on station utilizing the most efficient means available," Helme said. "We’ve had parts driven by a contractor from here to Miami, commercial airlifted to Comalapa, El Salvador, and then taken by an El Salvadorian patrol boat to our ship operating off the coast. The whole process took less than 24 hours. If there’s a means of delivery, we’ll find it.”
The size or part matters little to the staff of CTF 43. Recently, a requisition came for a ship’s gas turbine engine to be delivered to Panama. Less than a week later, the engine was completely installed, and the ship returned to the line and continued its mission.
“The effort and teamwork of the CTF 43 staff enables us to maintain ships’ mission readiness,” said Storekeeper 1st Class Yolanda Bryant, logistics request/casualty report expeditor for CTF 43.
Hector Correa, air logistics officer for CTF 43, handles the task of forward operating logistics support for counter-narcotic air.
“We support forward-deployed squadrons in Curacao; Manta, Ecuador; Comalapa, El Salvador and embarked HSC (Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron) detachments,” he explained. “It’s extremely important that we can keep the aircraft flying and searching for drug traffickers.”
Additionally, CTF 43 is the executive agent for coordinating all the services that U.S. naval ships require while pierside in the AOR. Services can include food, fuel, water and sewage services, and rental cars.
“Our goal is to ensure the very best service is provided to our ships while they are in port,” Helme explained. “We constantly evaluate the performance of the husbanding agents to make sure our ships are getting the very best available. The CTF 43 team is a prime example of what can be accomplished with trained professionals and a lot of teamwork."
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