The UK Royal Fleet Auxiliary’s fleet replenishment ship, RFA Fort Rosalie (A385) has completed her deployment with the U.S. Navy’s Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group (TRCSG).
During the deployment, U.S. Navy MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopters carried vital supplies from RFA Fort Rosalie to the Navy’s Nimitz-class aircraft carrier, USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) in the Gulf. The helicopters, flown by Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 6 (HSC-6), known as the Indians, put the RFA flight deck crew through their paces in a high-tempo replenishment at sea.
Fort Rosalie transferred 96 pallets of stores to the Roosevelt, known as the Big Stick, as part of her tasking with the aircraft carrier’s strike group in the Gulf. During her time with the US 5th Fleet, Fort Rosalie has transferred 254 pallets of stores – 87,500kgs, which equates to 11 double decker buses – to ships in the task group.
The Replenishment at sea (RAS) with the aircraft carrier was followed by the delivery of 26 loads to the U.S. Navy Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser USS Bunker Hill(CG-52). The work saw Fort Rosalie’s flight deck team work up to three MH-60 Seahawk helicopters in rotation.
Fort Rosalie’s XO, Chief Officer Dougie Cook, said: “Team Fort Rosalie really stepped up during this period to deliver quantities of cargo at an impressive pace, achieved by a dedicated ship’s company enthused by the opportunity to work within a task group again.
“As this tasking ends thoughts now turn to our future role working alongside HMS Queen Elizabeth delivering the solid support to keep her operational at sea.”
Reflecting on the importance of UK support to US assets operating in the Gulf region, Captain Timothy Gibboney, Commander TF 53, said: “The United Kingdom and the United States share a long-standing relationship in the maritime. Working with our UK partners allows us to enhance collective interoperability in bringing our operating forces much-needed supplies, and we are appreciative for Fort Rosalie’s vital contributions.”
Personnel aboard Fort Rosalie also got the chance to view the U.S. Lewis and Clark-class dry cargo ship USNS Alan Shepard (T-AKE-3) which, although 30 years younger than the RFA vessel, provides similar logistical support to Allied ships in the Middle East.
During her time with the U.S. carrier strike group, RFA Fort Rosalie was working for the United Kingdom Maritime Component Commander (UKMCC), based in Bahrain, which is responsible for RN vessels deployed in the Middle East.