NEWS | July 12, 2021

Military Sealift Command Far East Celebrates More than Seven Decades of Support

By Leslie Hull-Ryde, Military Sealift Command Far East Public Affairs

Military Sealift Command Far East celebrated the MSC enterprise’s 72nd birthday on July 9.

The Military Sea Transportation Service, the precursor to what is now known as Military Sealift Command, was established in 1949. Since then, MSC has provided the entire Department of Defense and other government agencies critical sealift support.

As one of MSC’s five area commands, the Far East team ensures approximately 50 ships in the Indo-Pacific region, are manned, trained and equipped to deliver essential supplies, fuel, cargo, and equipment to warfighters, both at sea and on shore.

“Much of MSC’s rich history is steeped in this region,” said MSC FE Commodore Capt. Samuel F. de Castro.

“Today, we continue the longstanding tradition of reliable service of sustainability in the Indian and Pacific Oceans that enables our warfighters to do their jobs without worrying about where their next meals, spare parts or equipment are coming from.”

A fleet of civil service and contracted mariners aboard government-owned and government-contracted ships accomplish MSC FE’s multi-faceted mission in the Indo-Pacific.

“I am extremely proud of the unwavering commitment of our professional mariners who spend months – years – at sea to ensure our clients get the support they need to conduct their missions,” de Castro said.

“We deliver and sustain not only the U.S. Navy and other services within the Department of Defense but our international partners and allies as well.”

Originally, the mission was to transport troops, combat equipment and supplies. Now, while staying true to that core responsibility, MSC does so much more.

MSC’s Combat Logistics Force includes fleet replenishment oilers, fleet ordnance and dry cargo ships and fast combat support ships. These ships deliver food, fuel, mail, cargo and parts to U.S. and international customers at sea, enabling them to remain underway for extended periods.

“We’re the floating grocery store, gas station, post office and hardware store and make personal deliveries of necessary items our customers need – wherever they are, day or night,” de Castro said.

MSC FE also conducts other special missions. These include towing, rescue and salvage, submarine support, cable laying and repair and navigational support.

MSC’s Maritime Prepositioning Ship Squadrons 2 and 3 are strategically located throughout the Indo-Pacific Region. These ships and their crews deliver equipment and cargo wherever the Army, Air Force, Navy or Marine Corps may need them.

Task force commanders employ any one of MSC ships to ensure mission accomplishment. COMLOG WESTPAC/CTF 73 is the U.S. 7th Fleet's provider of combat-ready logistics, operating government-owned and contracted ships that keep units throughout 7th Fleet armed, fueled and fed.

As the U.S. Navy's largest forward-deployed fleet, 7th Fleet employs 50-70 ships and submarines across the Western Pacific and Indian oceans. U.S. 7th Fleet routinely operates and interacts with 35 maritime nations while conducting missions to preserve and protect a free and open Indo-Pacific Region.

Military Sealift Command also supports combatant commands and other federal agencies when necessary – and has done so in some way for decades.

Regardless of the geographic location, MSC assets have been involved in every major conflict since World War II. Just days after North Korean troops invaded South Korea, Army troops and equipment were en route, thanks to the MTS, which was renamed Military Sealift Command during Vietnam. According to the Navy History and Heritage Command, MSC transported 8 million tons of fuel and 54 million tons of combat equipment in support of the Vietnam War. MSC also provided critical support during the Cold War, Operations Desert Shield, Desert Storm, Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.

“Our civil service and contracted crew members have been – and are -- deployed all over the globe, just like their uniformed counterparts,” de Castro said.

“I am extremely proud of everyone assigned to Military Sealift Command Far East, whether active duty or civilian, ashore or afloat, and salute and celebrate their service.”