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TAK 5089 Ltc. Calvin P. Titus

TAK 5089 Ltc. Calvin P. Titus and TAK 5091 SP5 Eric G. Gibson were container ships, initially owned and operated by Maersk Lines, and later, owned and operated by Osprey Ship Management, Inc. They were used to carry sustainment cargo including MREs, lubricants, medical supplies, repair parts and chemical defense equipment. These ships combined the capabilities of RO/RO container and break-bulk ships. They had the container capacity of 1,526 20-foot-equivalent units (TEUs) and 40,000 square feet of RO/RO space. The strength of the garage deck, the clear-deck heights, and the immense stern ramp allow for the transport of heavy armored vehicles, including M1A1 tanks. The Gibson was prepositioned in Guam, and Titus was prepositioned in Saipan.

Army Specialist 5th Class Eric G. Gibson was posthumously awarded the U.S. Army's Medal of Honor for bravery while fighting German troops during World War II. Gibson was born in Nysund, Sweden, in 1919, and he died while serving in Italy Jan. 28, 1944. On 28 January 1944, near Isola Bella, Italy, Tech. 5th Grade Gibson, company cook, led a squad of replacements through their initial baptism of fire, destroyed four enemy positions, killed 5 and captured 2 German soldiers, and secured the left flank of his company during an attack on a strongpoint. Placing himself 50 yards in front of his new men, Gibson advanced down the wide stream ditch known as the Fossa Femminamorta, keeping pace with the advance of his company. An enemy soldier allowed Tech. 5th Grade Gibson to come within 20 yards of his concealed position and then opened fire on him with a machine pistol. Despite the stream of automatic fire which barely missed him, Gibson charged the position, firing his submachine gun every few steps. Reaching the position, Gibson fired pointblank at his opponent, killing him. An artillery concentration fell in and around the ditch; the concussion from one shell knocked him flat. As he got to his feet Gibson was fired on by two soldiers armed with a machine pistol and a rifle from a position only 75 yards distant. Gibson immediately raced toward the foe. Halfway to the position a machinegun opened fire on him. Bullets came within inches of his body, yet Gibson never paused in his forward movement. He killed one and captured the other soldier. Shortly after, when he was fired upon by a heavy machinegun 200 yards down the ditch, Gibson crawled back to his squad and ordered it to lay down a base of fire while he flanked the emplacement. Despite all warning, Gibson crawled 125 yards through an artillery concentration and the cross fire of 2 machineguns which showered dirt over his body, threw 2 hand grenades into the emplacement and charged it with his submachine gun, killing 2 of the enemy and capturing a third. Before leading his men around a bend in the stream ditch, Gibson went forward alone to reconnoiter. Hearing an exchange of machine pistol and submachine gun fire, Gibson's squad went forward to find that its leader had run 35 yards toward an outpost, killed the machine pistol man, and had himself been killed while firing at the Germans.

Army Chief of Staff Gen. Gordon R. Sullivan unveiled ship's bells and name boards for two container ships to be renamed after Army Medal of Honor recipients at a ceremony 13 February 1995, at BethShip, Sparrows Point Yard, Md. The ships were undergoing conversions to meet Army requirements and U.S. Coast Guard standards. The vessels were delivered to the Navy's Military Sealift Command to become part of the Army Preposition Afloat Force. The ships, owned by Maersk Line Limited, and chartered to the Navy, were renamed the M/V LTC Calvin P. Titus and the M/V SP5 Eric G. Gibson.

When work at BethShip is complete, the ships sailed to Charleston, SC, where they were loaded with Army supplies and materiel, such as spare parts, food, and tools. The ships then joined the Army Prepositioned fleet in Saipan where they will become a key element in U.S. strategic mobility capability. The Army Prepo Afloat Force is part of the Military Sealift Command Afloat Prepositioning Force which maintains supply ships for all the services at various locations around the world. The force was established to improve response time for delivery of urgently needed supplies and equipment to a theater of operations during a crisis.

The converted container ships were the first to be delivered to MSC under a plan to modernize the Prepo Afloat Force. In addition to the converted container ships, the Navy was acquiring new Large Medium-Speed Roll-on/Roll-off ships called LMSRs. The LMSRs replaced smaller roll-on/roll-off ships previously used to hold the equipment for an Army brigade-sized task force.

The Army in March 1995 began loading two prepo ships in Charleston, South Carolina, with war stocks to support future rapid deployments. As part of this mission, Army and Defense Logistics Agency supply depots stuffed 3,000 containers with support items such as food, medicine, lubricants, barrier materials, common user repair parts, and a 100-bed hospital. These containers were loaded aboard the prepo ships SP5 Eric G. Gibson and LTC Calvin P. Titus, which will remain edat sea prepared for rapid deployment to future war zones anywhere in the world.

In 1999 the 'Sea Wolf' (also known briefly as the 'Lykes Adventurer') and 'Sea Lion' were sold to American Automar for operation by Osprey Ship Mgmt., of Bethesda, Md. The ships names were changed to the 'Titus' and the 'Gibson'.

In June 1999, MV Lt. Col. Calvin P. Titus, owned and operated under charter to MSC by Maersk Lines, was replaced by a ship owned and operated under charter to MSC by Titus Shipholding Corporation. The new vessel was renamed MV Lt. Col. Calvin P. Titus. Similarly, MV SP5 Eric G. Gibson, owned and operated under charter to MSC by Maersk Lines, was replaced by the Gibson Shipholding Corporation's MV SP5 Eric G. Gibson in July 1999. These two container ships, carrying Army sustainment stocks, were on station in Guam/Saipan. MV LTC Calvin P. Titus and MV SP5 Eric G. Gibson were completed in 1985 by Odense Steel Shipyard. The new and old Gibsons exchanged their cargo in Korea, a first for the Prepositioning Program.

The U.S. Army kept one of two MV ships, MV Titus and MV Gibson, at sea at all times, ready for any contingency that would require re-supplying of various Army units around the world. Every year one of the ships returns to the U.S. for maintenance, and not just maintenance on the ship. The cargo was removed, opened, unpackaged, inspected, refilled, re-packaged, re-containered, and sent back to sea for another two years of standing ready for any contingency.

Defense Distribution Depot Albany, Georgia (DDAG) completed a successful Army Prepositioning Afloat Program inspection June 4, 2001. This annual event took almost two months, involved the majority of the distribution center's workforce, and required receipt, inspection, and re-containerization of more than 1,200 containers. A 30-day supply of everything but weapons and ammunition was onboard MV Titus. DDAG employees inspected uniforms, gas tanks, boots, meals ready-to-eat, chemical suits, and circuit cards, to name a few of the items involved. Every item received necessary maintenance and those items with expired shelf-lives were replaced. The number of containers was so large and many containers were so heavy that rail travel from the port to DDAG was the only appropriate means of transport. It would have taken more than 500 trucks to move the cargo.

Although prepo ships provide an improved sustainment capability, they cannot by themselves provide the battlefield commander or intheater logistician with a truly effective sustainment capability. As the Gulf War showed, getting required supplies to a destination quickly is only part of the solution. Once all 3,000 intermodal shipping containers from the Titus and Gibson arrive at a contingency area, the receipt process must be able to identify quickly which container has the right "stuff." Providing this ultimate total asset and intransit visibility capability will ensure rapid and effective sustainment of fighting forces.

Agreements between the HQDA DCS, G-3, G-4, and CG, AMC resulted in the decision to turn-in the two sustainment ships, MV Titus and MV Gibson, ending the current lease one year early. The rationale for this evolved from an analysis of lessons learned during OIF. The loads were found to be somewhat inadequate and not well organized for rapid distribution. Subsequently, many of the sustainment-stocks were refused by gaining units.

As of mid-2003 a review was underway to reconfigure those items found to be viable and the elimination of those found to be unacceptable. The reorganization of these stocks will exceed the remaining lease time for these two ships which warrants their early turn-in. Additionally, newer, more capable ships have already been requested from MSC in the 2004 time frame.

Each of these two sustainment ships carried similar loads equaling 30 days of supply (DOS) for 5 1/3 divisions. The ARF concept for the future will require three separate sustainment ships, each carrying 30 DOS for 2.5 divisions.

As of mid-2003 the plan was to load sustainment materiel aboard ship using a mix of various ISO container configurations (Side and end opening) and storage aids based on the type of commodity. Locations will be assigned to all materiel in the storage containers and recorded in Army STAMIS. The intent is to develop a modular "turn-key" warehouse that can be downloaded and emplaced rapidly, handed-off to the gaining unit and begin immediate issue operations.



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