USNS Matthew Perry (T-AKE-9) resupplied U.S. naval forces, including USS America (LHA 6) and USS New Orleans (LPD 18) Aug. 5, which are currently taking part in Large Scale Exercise, or LSE, 21, in the western Pacific Ocean. LSE 21 is a Chief of Naval Operations-directed globally integrated exercise taking place in the Pacific Ocean, Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea. It is designed to refine synchronization of maritime operations across multiple fleets in support of the joint force. Across five numbered fleets, including 7th Fleet, 10 carrier strike groups and amphibious readiness groups will test hypothetical warfare concepts that cross geographical fleet lines. As part of LSE, the fleets will leverage concepts such as distributed maritime operations, expeditionary advanced base operations, littoral operations in a contested environment, naval operational architecture, and command and control in a contested environment.
“Replenishments at sea are inherently dangerous. We have to stay laser focused and be ready to make split-second decisions, when necessary. During LSE, we safely and successfully conducted a multi-ship RAS that included a lot of moving pieces. I was very impressed with the professionalism and the delivery coordination of my crew and those we worked with, whether U.S. ships or allies in the region,” said Capt. Mark Perdue, master of Matthew Perry.
“The U.S. Navy’s Combat Logistics Force is critical for our warfighters to successfully operate in these types of situations. The sealift support and transport we provide, whether the delivery of food, fuel, or spare parts or the prepositioning heavy equipment and cargo, enable our warfighters to conduct 24/7, 365-day operations. Military Sealift Command is the leading provider of ocean transportation for the Navy and the rest of the Department of Defense – operating approximately 125 ships daily around the globe,” said Capt. Samuel F. de Castro, commodore, Military Sealift Command Far East.
USNS Matthew Perry (T-AKE-9) is a Lewis and Clark-class dry cargo ship of the United States Navy, named in honor of Commodore Matthew C. Perry (1794–1858), who led the effort to open Japan to trade with the West. The contract to build Matthew Perry was awarded to National Steel and Shipbuilding Company (NASSCO) of San Diego, California, on 30 January 2006. Her keel was laid down on 3 October 2008. She was launched and christened on 16 August 2009, sponsored by Hester Evans, a great-great-great granddaughter of Commodore Perry. The Lewis and Clark class of dry cargo ship is a class of 14 underway replenishment vessels operated by the United States Navy’s Military Sealift Command. The ships in the class are named after famous American explorers and pioneers.
Military Sealift Command Far East ensures approximately 50 ships in the Indo-Pacific region, including Matthew Perry, are manned, trained and equipped to deliver essential supplies, fuel, cargo, and equipment to warfighters, both at sea and on shore. Task force commanders employ these ships to ensure mission accomplishment, added de Castro. 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. Matthew Perry, a government-owned dry cargo and ammunition ship, is crewed by civil service mariners who regularly resupply U.S. and partner navies’ ships. While the armed forces refine their skills and warfighting capabilities through exercises like LSE, these mariners also increase their interoperability. 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.