By Grady T. Fontana, MSC far East Publlic Affairs
BUSAN, Republic of Korea (NNS) -- A senior official from the Republic of Korea (ROK) Navy visited one of Military Sealift Command's newest class of Maritime Prepositioning Force ships, the mobile landing platform USNS Montfort Point (MLP 1), Aug. 8.
Vice Adm. Hyun-Seong Um, commander, ROK Fleet, received a guided tour of USNS Montford Point, a mobile landing platform that can serve as a floating base for amphibious operations and operate as a transfer point between large ships and small landing craft.
"The tour consisted of a walk-through of the (landing craft air cushion) deck, a tour and presentation of the ballast control, the bridge, a video about the vessel, and meaningful discussions of the Navy's sea base concept," said Navy Cmdr. Eric J. St. Peter, commanding officer, Military Sealift Command Office Korea, MSC Far East.
According to St. Peter, these types of tours give U.S. forces in Korea an opportunity to build a stronger alliance with the commander of ROK Fleet.
"Anytime we have an opportunity to share information, I think we should. It promotes interoperability," said St. Peter. "These types of tours and key-leader engagements are important because they help in sustaining and strengthening the ROK-U.S. combined forces alliance. We are stronger and better postured to deter external aggression and defend the Korean Peninsula when we are familiar with each other."
According to Um, the Montford Point crew was working on behalf of Korea so the ROK Navy was very supportive and proud of the strong alliance. Additionally, Um, who travelled with a staff of other high-ranking officials, displayed great interest in the Montford Point for its "very interesting concepts."
"Montford Point can operate like a floating pier at sea, 25 miles from shore," said civilian mariner Captain Kurt N. Kleinschmidt, the Montford Point's master. "We are still in our infancy, but are working to be able to serve a variety of shore connectors for Marine Corps amphibious landing forces."
Montford Point is one of two MLPs that will be part of the Navy's "Sea Base" concept that provides the capability to transfer vehicles and equipment at-sea through Sea State 3, improving the U.S. military's ability to deliver equipment and cargo from ship to shore when land bases don't exist, according to Kleinschmidt. Sea state is the general condition of the free surface on a large body of water and Sea State 3 is marked by wave heights of about two to four feet.
"When the MLP is on mission, the ship will submerge to about 40 feet while underway to the area of operations. Once on station it would submerge to about 50 feet, so that the (landing craft air cushion) can drive right up on the mission deck to pick up cargo," said Kleinschmidt. "This allows it to operate like a floating pier and will serve as a transfer point for Marine Corps amphibious landing forces."
The MLP's flexibility is critical for humanitarian response to natural disasters and for support to warfighters ashore. The size allows for 25,000 square feet of vehicle and equipment stowage space and 380,000 gallons of JP-5 fuel storage.
USNS Montford Point was named in honor of the first African Americans who entered the Marine Corps at Montford Point Camp, New River, North Carolina, from 1942 to 1949.
MSC operates approximately 115 non-combatant, civilian-crewed ships that replenish U.S. Navy ships, conduct specialized missions, strategically preposition combat cargo at sea around the world and move military cargo and supplies used by deployed U.S. forces and coalition partners.