Friday, October 02, 2015

Airmen enable largest CR exercise in AF history, Cerberus Strike

by Tech. Sgt. Matthew Hannen
621st Contingency Response Wing

10/2/2015 - COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- Contingency response Airmen from the 821st Contingency Response Group recently planned, directed and executed the largest self-contained contingency response exercise in Air Force history from Sept. 8-19.

Approximately 150 Airmen from the 821st CRG at Travis Air Force Base, Calif., subordinate unit of the 621st Contingency Response Wing--with bicoastal units located at Travis AFB and Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst AFB, N.J.--conducted Exercise Cerberus Strike, a joint contingency response exercise operating out of five locations in California and Colorado. This unique exercise, whose name was derived from the mascot of the lead squadron, was hosted by the 821st CRG, supported by Air Mobility Liaison Officers, and executed alongside aircrews from three different airframes, demonstrated the spectrum of CR capabilities that make up Air Mobility Command's airlift support mission sets.

One of the core capabilities of the 621st CRW is enhancing and extending the nation's global enroute architecture in order to rapidly respond to crises and contingencies. In order to better serve that function, Airmen from the 621st CRW used Exercise Cerberus Strike to hone their skills and reaffirm their interoperability with joint counterparts.

According to Capt. Michael Slaughter, 821st Contingency Response Squadron assistant director of operations, the CR training was initially constructed to develop unique CR-oriented training objectives that improve downrange effectiveness in preparation for real-world responses. It focused on key functions required by the warfighter such as landing zone assessment, airbase opening for intermediate and forward staging base operations, integrated force protection, and rapid deployment and redeployment of CR and Army forces through strategic and tactical airlift. In fact the training became significantly more substantial, as CR Airmen, AMLOs, aircrew, and Soldiers planned and executed alongside each other.

To accomplish this training, exercise planners in the 821st CRG recruited a large number of Air Force and joint partners. Air Force participants in the exercise included strategic airlift support via C-17 Globemaster III and C-5 Galaxy squadrons from the 4th Airlift Squadron from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.; 21st AS and 22nd AS, Travis AFB, Calif. Tactical airlift support from C-130J Hercules aircraft was provided by units from the 19th Airlift Wing, Little Rock AFB, Ark., and 317th Airlift Group, Dyess AFB, Texas. U.S. Army participants came from the 10th Special Forces Group and 4th Infantry Division Stryker Battalion, 43rd Sustainment Brigade and 13th Air Support Operations Squadron, Fort Carson, Colo.

The initial portion of the exercise called for the 4th ID to utilize C-17 airlift for landing zone infiltration. AMLOs and CR Airmen from the 621st CRW worked with 4th ID and 21st and 4th AS to secure airlift for U.S. Army Stryker combat vehicles and personnel participating in the exercise. This training called for two contingency response teams to open and operate two locations in Southern California.  The final destination for the Strykers was Freedom Forward Landing Strip at Fort Irwin, Calif., which provided the 4th ID the opportunity to execute an actual assault of a landing zone at Ft Irwin's National Training Center and assisted in preparing the 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team for combat operations. 

Lt. Col. Chris Fuller, 621st Air Mobility Advisor Group, Army Liaison, and Master Sgt. Jeff Holloway, 821st Contingency Response Squadron chief of standards and evaluation, worked to facilitate efforts between the units.

AMLOs hold a unique position in the Air Force; as rated airlift officers attached to Army units, they provide expertise on the effective use of air mobility assets for the Air Force and sister services.  Communication between services is often a challenge as members from the Air Force, Army, Navy and Marine Corps typically have differing terminology and coordination procedure requests.  AMLOs are geographically separated from their parent wing at JB MDL and embedded with units from sister services in locations around the world. They provide a critical link in bridging the gap in communication between the Air Force and their host unit. Exercise Cerberus Strike provided real-time opportunities for AMLOs to enhance communication and increase the efficiency of joint service efforts..

"AMLOs expand exercise objectives by bringing joint service units into planning and execution, which ultimately maximizes the effectiveness and realism of the exercise," Fuller said. "AMLOs are the glue between the Army and Air Force."

During the exercise, Fuller, Holloway and their teams assisted with the joint inspection of Stryker vehicles, facilitated movements at the SoCal Logistics Airport in Victorville, Calif., and coordinated landing zones and off-loading capabilities at various locations.

Holloway, one of the primary exercise developers, examined the requirements of Army units as an opportunity to cultivate opportunities for CRW and airlift airmen to engage in real-time training.

"Reaching out to our AMLOs at Fort Carson, we saw the opportunity for a partnership with the 10th Special Forces Group and 4th ID," Holloway said. "The Stryker battalion was tasked with executing operations at National Training Center at Fort Irwin. With the opportunity for some excellent training for all three CR units at Travis, we started looking into the potential of facilitating the air shipment of the Stryker battalion."

From this simple beginning and some vision and support from leadership the exercise grew into a truly robust training event for everyone involved.

After opening and closing the two airfields in California, CR forces forward deployed to Colorado opening three more airfields. There the CRW provided 10 C-130 crews with realistic combat training, high-altitude work and semi-prepared runway operations at one of the most difficult C-130 landing zones in the world, while ensuring airdrop qualification of 70 members from the 10th Special Forces Group.   In all, over 375 personnel from across the military participated.

"In a complex scenario like this, everyone has to think on their feet to overcome unforeseen challenges," said Maj. Eli Persons, 921st Contingency Response Squadron assistant director of operations. "What I was most impressed with was the ingenuity and initiative of our CR Airmen to handle whatever came their way."

In a number of firsts, CR Airmen and airlift crews flying in the exercise conducted a combined exercise debrief. It focused on shared areas for improvement and identified best practices that improve interoperability of CR forces and the airlift community it works with.

"This debrief provided all participants a tangible understanding of the shared lessons learned that improve our performance as a mobility team not just separate CR and airlift forces," Slaughter said.

"The list of accomplishments for this exercise was truly remarkable," said Lt. Col. Jeffrey Krulick, 821st CRS director of operations.  One critical example provided was that "It was the first time we had the AMLOs fully integrate with CR and joint forces in a training exercise."

According to Lt. Col. Dan Cordes, 821st CRS commander, the development of the unique and targeted training opportunity is perhaps the most important element.

The value and success of this training was readily apparent to all participants as squadrons utilized their own training dollars to integrate into the exercise; and the support and willingness to participate in what started off as a local squadron-level training event was, "truly remarkable," according to Cordes.

"This [exercise] was created from the imagination and creativity of several [of our own] hard-working Airmen with full time responsibilities in their squadron and involved with the daily operations of the units," Cordes said. "The learning, integration, and understanding that came from developing and executing an exercise as complex as this is second to none, and undoubtedly those that participated are more prepared than ever to execute their mission."

Edwards, JBLM combine efforts for KC-46 first flight, future test support

by Jet Fabara
412th Test Wings Public Affairs

10/2/2015 - JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. -- On Sept. 25, 2015, the U.S. Air Force, Boeing and aviation enthusiasts witnessed an important milestone with the first flight of the KC-46 Pegasus tanker from Paine Field in Everett, Washington, to Boeing Field in Seattle.

What most didn't witness is what led up to this milestone, which involved a massive, joint undertaking of several organizations, based out of Joint Base Lewis-McChord, who will continue to be involved with future testing of this military version tanker as part of the KC-46 Tanker Program.

Of the organizations, now functioning from JBLM, the 416th Flight Test Squadron and 412th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron from Edwards Air Force Base, California, will be providing up to three F-16s for KC-46 test support, which JBLM has housed since September.

"The KC-46 will accomplish test flights out of Everett and Boeing Field as they're going through their flight test operations, but the test program also required photo, safety chase and receiver aircraft support, so we're staging out of McChord Field because it was more suitable for support aircraft operations per the final site survey that our team leads performed," said Capt. Daniel Alex, 416th FLTS test pilot. "We'll fly out of McChord Field and rejoin with the KC-46 in the airspace. We will also be rotating aircrew roughly every two weeks at a time in support of this program."

Another factor to the joint partnership involves bringing in personnel from the 412th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, 416th Aircraft Maintenance Unit from Edwards AFB, as well as other AF units who will provide receiver aircraft for the KC-46 program.

They're needed to provide maintenance on support aircraft and also provided safety training to pertinent JBLM personnel who will be supporting fighter and tanker support aircraft operations, according to Tim O'Hearn, 418th FLTS project manager and 412th Test Wing lead for KC-46 support aircraft basing.

"So far, we have nine maintenance personnel supporting two F-16s, but we also have an embedded Reserve service member who lives in the local area and an Edwards aircraft ground equipment specialist who is training JBLM personnel who may not be familiar with our equipment," said Master Sgt. Ronald Dohmann, 412th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron lead pro super. "We also have an Edwards' fuels shop specialist to train on hydrazine safety who has been running a three-day course with the JBLM Fire Department, ranging from Air Force, Army and civilian."

Before getting established, the team also had to look at all the aspects of ground support, which included environmental conditions and acquiring the appropriate aircraft ground equipment needed to operate each support air plane.

"I think this endeavor has been pretty exciting for our maintainers. At Edwards, our maintainers are exposed to a desert environment and JBLM is certainly different than that. The cold weather and rain at JBLM provides new challenges that we must face and overcome," said Paul Boyce, 416th FLTS logistics manager.

"We've had to prepare for wearing cold-weather gear and rain gear because back home we don't need it. The vast amounts of rain we're expecting at JBLM has caused us to change the criteria we use for our tires. We've also had to coordinate with the local folks here about de-icing issues to make sure so all potential areas of concern are covered."

"For us, coming from a traditional Air Force flight and ground test environment and arriving here, there were a lot of learning curves at first, but it's all worked out and I couldn't have asked for a better operation out of the JBLM construct and the Washington 95th Air National Guard, who provided their former facility and furniture," added Dohmann.

According to O'Hearn, one of the most essential taskers leading up to this was working to get the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) approved among all the pertinent agencies.

"We basically set up a composite wing and a focal point to coordinate all the operations in support of the KC-46. We have six different airframes that include the F-16 Fighting Falcon, F-15E Strike Eagle, A-10 Warthog, the KC-135 Stratotanker, KC-10 Extender and C-17 Globemaster III arriving at JBLM throughout the duration of the KC-46 testing. It's a pretty big footprint," said O'Hearn. "The site agreement manager at JBLM, Katie Benoit, was instrumental in getting the right people to the table and coordinating the MOA through the JBLM and 62 AW organization and leadership."

As part of the MOA, O'Hearn noted 412TW and other Air Force units would be providing support aircraft for the program coupled with the support at JBLM from the U.S. Army Installation Management Command, the 62nd Airlift Wing, the 95th Air National Guard, the Air National Guard Bureau and all the JBLM agencies on station are essential to the success of this operation.

"In this case, because it's long term duration with a lot of personnel, the MOA written for this undertaking is pretty comprehensive, involving services that personnel would need if they were at their home station, but the entire JBLM team has been very supportive," O'Hearn said.

The additional piece to this joint effort is the 418th Flight Test Squadron and 412 Maintenance Group, who basically started the planning process with site surveys, according to O'Hearn.

"The 418th Flight Test Squadron is executing this responsibility for the 412th Test Wing and has contributed thousands of hours over the past three-plus years with the test planning effort that assisted in achieving this test milestone," said Charles Cain, 412th Test Wing KC-46 project manager. "The 418th FLTS is supported by Detachment 1 in Seattle, which directly supports the execution of this first flight test."

A key and final component to the entire operation was JBLM.

"The original request came in to the 62nd Airlift Wing, so Kevin Parret, 62nd AW plans analyst, and I discussed it and we quickly came to the conclusion that this was definitely a bigger undertaking than McChord, so we contacted JBLM for support," said John Schmedake, 62nd Airlift Wing Plans and Programs Office chief.

During the flight tests, JBLM will provide people and equipment necessary to facilitate pertinent support for the personnel and aircraft involved with KC-46 flying operations. In total, for the 412th TW and AF units, there will be approximately 120 personnel at JBLM involved in the direct support of test and evaluation for the KC-46.

"As an Air Force member working for the U.S. Army at JBLM, it was great to be able to be a part of something that's so important to the Air Force and then bring all the support that JBLM can provide," added JBLM deputy chief of staff Air Force Lt. Col. Andy McQuade.

"As we look to understand why joint basing was established and what the benefits are, this is a great example of how it can potentially work to facilitate good relationships between the services that are working on those joint bases. I think we have come together in a way that shows the great example of the successes of joint basing and the KC-46 support test team has been able to leverage all the support that's here."

The test program is tentatively scheduled to last approximately 15 months, concluding in December 2016.

Navy, Air Force hone skills in the skies

by Airman 1st Class Kyle Johnson
JBER Public Affairs

10/1/2015 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- From Sept. 14 to Sept. 25, Air Force F-22 Raptors from the 90th Fighter Squadron duked it out with Navy Strikefighter Squadron 15 F-18 Hornets from Naval Station Oceana, Virginia Beach, Virginia, each maneuvering to wrest as much training experience from the other with every second of flight time.

The Hornets flew with JBER Raptors as part of dissimilar air-combat training (DACT); a training operation in which fundamentally different airframes work against and with each other, much as they would in an actual warzone environment.

When flying against the Raptors, the Hornets were known as "red air," a term used for the pilots simulating enemy aircraft for training purposes, while "blue air" is used for the pilots who are the recipients of the training.

Through this, pilots on both sides were able to gain experience with combat operations against an enemy with different training and a different airframe.

"There are different tactics for different airframes," said Navy Lt. Michael Koch, VFA-15 pilot. "It is good to work against someone using a different tactic and potentially a different game plan to see where your strengths compare to theirs and your weaknesses to theirs."

With six Hornets and approximately half their maintainer squadron, the VF-15 arrived at JBER; flying four jets in the morning, and four in the evening with JBER Raptors over the course of two weeks, said Air Force Capt. Brendon Boston, 3rd Operations Support Squadron pilot attached to the 90th Fighter Squadron.

The goal of the training is to provide red air to the 90th FS, so they can get their blue air sorties, but that doesn't mean the visiting Navy pilots aren't benefiting from the training.

"It's awesome we are up here to get some extra flight time," Koch said. "There's definitely stuff to be learned from seeing someone fight with an aircraft differently than what you're used to seeing."

In addition to providing traditional red air to the 90th FS, the visiting Navy unit assisted in designing different exercises that may not have been previously  thought of, and worked together with the Raptors in cooperative exercises.

"In one flight, we had two Raptors and two Hornets; the Hornets were dropping bombs on simulated targets while the Raptors protected us against a red air force composed of two Raptors and two Hornets," Boston said.

Air Force pilots are required to fly a certain number of sorties a month to remain proficient.

Those sorties are scheduled to meet these requirements every month, but sometimes, even the best planning can't circumvent circumstance.

"If we go up and it's bad weather, we don't accomplish anything tactical, we can't actually count that as a sortie for our proficiency," Boston said.

"That's why we have the aggressor squadron at Eielson, which we use to the maximum extent we can, but occasionally they are flying with [another unit], are tied up in RED FLAG, and sometimes they go on deployment or [temporary duty assignment] so we won't have them available."

"When this happens, we use our own jets for red air, and we can only fly so many of those a fiscal year to count toward that monthly limit," Boston said. "Pretty  much everyone runs out of red air about halfway through the year."

When they begin running low on red air, the squadron reaches out to their fellow aviators in other squadrons and branches. If they can coordinate training with another entity, they can accomplish their mission and earn some unique experience on the way.

While DACT can be done with Air Force pilots on both sides, - and often is - training with members of a different branch incorporates dissimilar mindsets, policies and procedures.

"There are some significant advantages of working with the Navy," Boston said.

"Getting exposure to the tiny differences, what their [communication] calls are, and how their procedures work on the ground.

Later on, when we do integrate, people are more used to it when it matters."

Exercises like this one wouldn't be possible without the cooperation of hundreds of service members, both Navy and Air Force. From the maintenance  squadrons to the security forces, everyone has a role in getting these pilots in the air.

"We fly some of the oldest operational Hornets in the Navy, so our maintainers work extremely hard keeping our jets up," Koch said. "They're great aircraft, but they just require a little bit more work than our newer brethren; they do the same job any brand new Hornet squadron can do because our maintainer squadron is that good."

The VF-15 squadron was deployed from February to November 2014, after which they transitioned into a period of readiness, Koch said. This means they are considered the most ready to deploy, and receive the most funding - but that period ended in May.

"All the funds are sent toward units that are either getting ready to deploy or are currently deployed," Koch said. "Since we are now the furthest unit from deploying, a lot of those funds dry up. So we've got flight hours we can use, but we don't necessarily have a lot of money that can go elsewhere."

Because of this, the 90th FS arranged to pay for their trip so they can get the red air they're looking for and the VF-15 can use their flight time, showing downrange isn't the only place cooperability is key to mission success.

"You can't put a price on flight time," Koch said.

US, Bangladesh Navies Strengthen Maritime Partnerships during 5th CARAT Bangladesh

From Commander, Task Force 73 Public Affairs

SINGAPORE (NNS) -- The 5th annual exercise Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) Bangladesh commenced with an opening ceremony at Naval Base Issa Khan, Sept. 30.

CARAT Bangladesh 2015 will continuing through Oct. 4, and feature five days of shore-based and at-sea training events designed to address shared maritime security priorities, develop relationships, and enhance cooperation between the U.S. and Bangladesh navies.

"Our partnership with the Bangladesh Navy continues to mature and flourish through our routine engagement and strong relationships we've developed with our partners," said Rear Adm. Charlie Williams, commander, Task Force (CTF) 73. "These relationships enable CARAT to remain a credible venue to sharpen skills, share knowledge, and conduct maritime security cooperation in this important region."

In its 21st year, CARAT is a bilateral exercise series between the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and the armed forces of nine partner nations in South and Southeast Asia, including Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Timor-Leste.

In 2011, the inaugural CARAT Bangladesh became the first dedicated U.S. and Bangladesh naval exercise in more than a decade. Though a relatively new participant, Bangladesh stands out as the only South Asian nation in the CARAT series and the exercise continues to make steady progress each year with increasing complexity and interoperability.

"Each year we become more familiar with the Bangladesh Armed Forces' operations, equipment and personnel," said Capt. H. B. Le, commodore, Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 7. "It's important we continue to work together, share knowledge and learn from each other, so that when our countries call on us to operate jointly, we can do so with efficiency and effectiveness."

CARAT is an adaptable, flexible exercise; its scenarios are tailored with inputs from the United States and partner nations to meet shared maritime security priorities, such as counter-piracy, counter-smuggling, maritime interception operations and port security. The exercise series is also a venue to share the latest best practices in search and rescue, military law and medicine, and humanitarian assistance/disaster response (HA/DR).

CARAT 2015 marks the first time that a littoral combat ship has participated in the exercise with the Bangladesh Navy, enhancing the complexity and interoperability of the exercise. In the Bay of Bengal, the littoral combat ship USS Fort Worth (LCS 3) and the diving and salvage vessel USNS Safeguard (T-ARS 50) with an embarked mobile diving and salvage unit, will operate with Bangladesh Navy ships and aircraft.

A U.S. P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft will also participate in CARAT Bangladesh alongside the Bangladesh Navy's Dornier 228 NG maritime patrol aircraft, enhancing shared maritime domain awareness.

Additionally, U.S. Navy divers and Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) technicians will train with the Bangladesh Navy's elite Special Warfare Diving and Salvage (SWADS) unit in Chittagong and the surrounding area. Focus areas will include close quarter battle, small boat maintenance, demolition techniques, and diving and salvage operations.

Legal and medical professionals from both navies will exchange best practices during military law and medicine symposia. Receptions and sporting events with participating sailors from both navies will broaden opportunities to develop personal relationships among the forces.

More than 300 U.S. Sailors will participate in CARAT Bangladesh including personnel assigned to USS Fort Worth, USNS Safeguard with an embarked Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit (MDSU), staff from CTF 73 and DESRON 7, Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit (EODMU) 5, and Navy Environmental and Preventative Medicine Unit (NEPMU) 6.

Following CARAT Bangladesh, the final phases of CARAT 2015 will occur in November in both Brunei and Cambodia.

CTF 73 and DESRON 7 staff conduct advanced planning, organize resources and directly support the execution of maritime exercises such as the bilateral CARAT series, the Naval Engagement Activity (NEA) with Vietnam, and the multi-lateral Southeast Asia Cooperation and Training (SEACAT) with Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand.

Koa Moana 15-3 Promotes Tri-Service, Partner Nations Maritime Security Cooperation Engagements

By Grady Fontana, Military Sealift Command Far East

PACIFIC OCEAN (NNS) -- Military Sealift Command's USNS Lewis and Clark (T-AKE 1) is currently participating in Exercise Koa Moana 15-3, a four-month exercise that involves embarked Marines and will make stops at locations in the Pacific Island Nations of Oceana: French Polynesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Vanuatu and Timor Leste.

The purpose of the exercise, which is slated to end late November, is to enhance senior military leader engagements between allied and partner nations with a collective interest in military-to-military and military-to-law enforcement relations.

While training with other nations, the U.S. Marine Corps will exercise key aspects of military operations, capability development and interoperability.

During the exercise-while Marines are ashore conducting exercise objectives-USNS Lewis and Clark, which is also part of Maritime Prepositioning Ships Squadron Two (MPSRON-2), will concurrently participate in Oceanic Maritime Security Initiative (OMSI) operations in support of Maritime Law Enforcement operations by the U.S. Coast Guard.

OMSI is a Secretary of Defense program aimed to diminish transnational illegal activity on the high seas and enhance regional security and interoperability with partner nations.

The OMSI memorandum of understanding between Department of Defense, U.S. Coast Guard and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration helps to deter and prevent various threats to maritime security and transnational crime; encourage mutually beneficial partnerships with Pacific Island Nations; promote interoperability; enhance maritime domain awareness; and improve economic stability throughout Oceania, according to U.S. Coast Guard Lt. Lisa Hatland, Coast Guard liaison to KOA MOANA and stationed at U.S. Coast Guard District 14 out of Honolulu.

The combined U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard team, with the assistance of a partner nation law enforcement authority will be looking for potential violations at sea and board the suspect vessels for further inspection.

"Lewis and Clark will embark foreign law enforcement agents from several Pacific Island Nations in order to intercept and board commercial fishing vessels operating inside their sovereign exclusive economic zones (EEZ)," said U.S. Navy Capt. Paul D. Hugill, commodore of MPSRON-2.

The program leverages Department of Defense assets transiting the region to increase the U.S. Coast Guard's maritime domain awareness, ultimately supporting its maritime law enforcement operations in Oceania.

"Illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing has significant negative effects on regional and national economies, and serves as a destabilizing force in the region," said Hatland. "OMSI supports the national strategic objectives of the United Sates by helping ensure stability within the greater Oceania Region, where more than a dozen Pacific Island Nations depend on highly migratory fish stocks within their EZZ for sustenance and national income."

The Coast Guard is responsible for patrolling the waters around the numerous islands associated with the U.S. throughout the region. Each of these islands has territorial waters stretching out to 12 miles from shore.

Beyond that, stretching out to 200 nautical miles are EZZs, an area defined by international law that allows each nation exclusive rights to the exploration and use of marine resources. Oceania contains 43 percent, or approximately 1.3 million square miles, of United States' EEZs that are divided between nine non-contiguous U.S. EEZs: Main Hawaiian Islands, Johnston, Kingman/Palmyra, Jarvis, Howland/Baker, American Samoa, Wake, Guam, and Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands (CNMI).

COMPSRON 2, currently embarked in USNS Lewis and Clark and operating in the Southern Eastern Pacific, maintains tactical control of the 10 ships that are forward deployed to Diego Garcia and carrying afloat prepositioned U.S. military cargo for the U.S. Marine Corps, the U.S. Army, and the U.S. Air Force. The squadron's mission is to enable the force from the sea by providing swift and effective transportation of vital equipment and supplies for designated operations.

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.

The Lewis and Clark is currently deployed to the Commander, 7th Fleet and Commander, Task Force 73 area of operations enhancing security and stability in the Pacific region.