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Sasebo Minesweepers Complete Replenishment at Sea

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS070515-07
Release Date: 5/15/2007 8:40:00 AM

By Lt j.g. Steve Peterson, USS Guardian Public Affairs

USS GUARDIAN, At Sea (NNS) -- Sasebo, Japan-based minesweepers USS Guardian (MCM 5) and USS Patriot (MCM 7) conducted a successful refueling at sea with USNS Tippecanoe (T-AO 199) off the coast of the Philippines on April 27.

The refueling was an important evolution for the minesweepers, each on the longest underway period for their respective multimonth deployments to Southeast Asia. Minesweepers are limited endurance vessels, and both Guardian and Patriot were on a long trek south after a brief port visit to White Beach Naval Facility in Okinawa.

“Our ship can hold only so much fuel, and we must always be mindful of the possibility of an unexpected call to duty,” said Engineman 2nd Class Saul Contreras, Guardian’s fuels coordinator. “To be able to refuel at sea is an integral part of our mission readiness.”

Connected replenishments at sea (RAS) are especially arduous for vessels as small as minesweepers, yet it is something the crew trains for and practices during pre-deployment workups.

Guardian’s commanding officer, Lt. Cmdr. Steve DeMoss, knew his crew was up to the challenge.

“I’m very excited to have just completed the RAS,” said DeMoss, from Guardian’s port bridge wing where he monitored the evolution. “Though we continuously plan for and train for these evolutions, I am always so very proud of my crew when I get to watch them successfully complete the operation.”

Guardian took on approximately 9,000 gallons of fuel. The exchange went off without a hitch, due in large part to the professional excellence of the ship’s deck and engineering departments.

Mineman 1st Class Richard Weinert was the forecastle safety observer for the special sea and anchor evolution.

“Everything went according to plan, and I think that no matter how many of these that you do, you’re always a little anxious because at any moment something askew can happen,” he said. “But our experience and training kept us prepared for success.”

The additional fuel allowed Guardian and Patriot to proceed forward on their extended journey.

Patriot and Guardian with embarked Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 5, Detachment 51 are currently on a long-term deployment in Southeast Asia to support the U.S. 7th Fleet’s interoperability and training commitments in mine neutralization warfare and maritime operations.

Patriot and Guardian serve under Task Force 76, based out of Okinawa, Japan with an operating detachment in Sasebo, Japan.

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