JEB LITTLE CREEK- FORT STORY, Va. - Two years after a naval support ship was commissioned, it's now seeing its first operation. The USNS Burlington will be out at sea for 90 days to test its capabilities with the Navy’s Southern Command.
It is a historical moment for the ship on its first-ever mission since its commissioning in 2018. The mission’s purpose is to see what it can do and what it could improve on.
“Our job is going to be to go down there and provide them support in terms of maintenance and repair parts,” Capt. Todd Kutkiewicz said.
Todd Kutkiewicz is overseeing the maiden mission and it is his “fourth ship sailing as master."
The Burlington is comparable to a floating mechanic's garage. It is made of lightweight aluminum that can go from 0 to 50 in just a few seconds.
"It allows the ships to stay on station, stay on the AOR (area of responsibility),” Kutkiewicz explained to, “not have to travel too far to get the needed maintenance and repairs done."
Ten Marines and 25 civil service mariners are on board. The crew had to quarantine for 14 days due to coronavirus concerns to stay healthy in order to board the ship and take part in the mission.
The crew, unfortunately, will miss Thanksgiving and Christmas with their families but are expected to be back in time for New Year's.
"Without them, it just wouldn't happen,” Kutkiewicz said.
The ship will make a stop in Mayport, Florida to pick up the rest of the crew before it continues with its mission.