The U.S. Military Sealift Command’s (MSC) Lewis and Clark-class dry cargo and ammunition ship, USNS William McLean (T-AKE 12) departed Naval Station Norfolk to begin its overseas deployment in support of U.S. Naval and allied forces operating in the U.S. Sixth Fleet’s area of responsibility, Jan. 23.
“Initially, we will be heading to the Mediterranean Sea,” said Captain James White, USNS William McLean’s master. “We are going to provide our forces operating with logistical support via underway replenishments at sea which is a common task for this type of ship. Additionally, we anticipate working with our allies to enhance our partnerships and will be providing military exercise support.”
USNS William McLean is crew by 126 civil service mariners (CIVMARS).
According to White, “Our CIVMARS are the heart of the ship. They run all of the ship’s departments including deck, engine, supply, communications, medical and administration. They also navigate the ship, maintain and operate the engineering department, perform preventive maintenance and prepare all the crew’s the food.”
Dry cargo and ammunition ships, like the William McLean, deliver supplies to U.S. Naval and Allied ships while at sea thus providing the ability for combatant ships to remain underway for longer periods of time.
“William McLean can transport large quantities of dry cargo, to include ammunition, food, spare parts, and mail; everything that the Navy needs to sustain itself at sea,” said White. “Additionally, the ship carries a significant quantity of fuel which we are called upon to deliver to other ships frequently.”
Preparing for William McLean’s deployment required significant training and preparation.
“The crew was outstanding during the preparation period for this trip,” concluded White. “The William McLean is a great ship with a fine crew and we are all looking forward to this deployment.”
The ship’s namesake, William McLean, was a U.S. Navy physicist, who conceived and developed the heat-seeking Sidewinder missile.
Bill Mesta, Military Sealift Command