USNS Kanawha returns to Naval Station Norfolk after 5-month deployment

USNS Kanawha returns to Naval Station Norfolk (March 14)
USNS Kanawha returns to Naval Station Norfolk (March 14)
USNS Kanawha returns to Naval Station Norfolk (March 14)
USNS Kanawha returns to Naval Station Norfolk (March 14)
USNS Kanawha returns to Naval Station Norfolk (March 14)
Posted at 5:51 PM, Mar 14, 2022

NORFOLK, Va. - The USNS Kanawha (T-AO 196), a Combat Logistics Force (CLF) vessel of the United States Navy Military Sealift Command, returned to Naval Station Norfolk Monday afternoon after a successful 167-day deployment.

For 121 underway days, Kanawha served as the sole replenishment oiler responsible for supporting 14 U.S. Navy combatants and four of the Navy’s allied partners in Fifth Fleet’s area of operation, which includes 2.5 million square miles of water that surrounds the Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Oman, Red Sea and parts of the Indian Ocean.

USNS Kanawha’s flexibility and commitment enabled the safe execution of 37 at-sea replenishments and the transfer of more than 9.6 million gallons of fuel, 1,634 pallets of critical cargo, and two personnel.

Delivering on-time logistic services is what CLF ships are known for. Kanawha’s ship master, Capt. Bobby Summers said he is extremely proud of his crew’s performance.

“They rose to meet a multitude of challenges, including a short notice tasking in both Fifth and Sixth Fleets’ AORs. Throughout the deployment, the crew remained, without ceasing, mission ready . . . always placing MSC’s best foot forward," Capt. Summers said.

Kanawha is the 10th ship of the Henry J. Kaiser’s Combat Logistic Force ships. Underway replenishments are a critical naval capability that allows U.S. Navy and allied ships to be resupplied with fuel, food and stores without pulling into a port. They are particularly important when combatants are unable to receive supplies from local ports in theater due to force protections measures.

Replenishment oilers have a maximum sustained speed of 20 knots and are fitted with five fueling stations capable of pumping 900,000 gallons per hour to two ships at a time.

CLF ships are U.S. Government-owned and are operated by U.S. Government civil service mariners. All CLF ships are capable of integrating rotary-wing aircraft operations. Composed of 32 ships (16 fleet replenishment oilers, 14 ordnance and dry cargo ships, and two fast combat support ships), CLF ships allow Navy warships to remain on station indefinitely, projecting power.

In 2021, MSC ships, operating in the Atlantic, loaded and discharged 16.4 billion pounds of cargo, delivered more than 381 million gallons of petroleum products, and more 330 million pounds net explosive weight of ordnance. CLF ships supported 13 deployments, 10 major fleet exercise, and three fleet ordnance moves.

Military Sealift Command operates approximately 120 non-combatant, civilian-crewed ships that replenish U.S. Navy ships, conduct specialized missions, and strategically preposition combat cargo at sea around the world while moving military cargo and supplies used by deployed U.S. forces and coalition partners.