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PFC William B. Baugh, docked in Port Canaveral, Florida in 2008.

USNS PFC Dewayne T. Williams, USNS Dahl, and USNS Maj. Stephen W. Pless anchored off the coast of Saipan in June 2011

Strategic sealift ships are part of the United States Military Sealift Command's (MSC) prepositioning program. There are currently 49[1][2] ships in the program, strategically positioned around the globe to support the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Defense Logistics Agency. Most are named after Medal of Honor recipients from the service they support.[2][3][4] The ships are assigned to two[5] Military Prepositioning Ship (MPS) squadrons[6] located in the Indian Ocean at Diego Garcia and the Western Pacific Ocean at Guam and Saipan. The MPS ships in each squadron have sufficient equipment, supplies and ammunition to support a Marine Air-Ground Task Force for 30 days. The MPS ships are self-sustaining, with cranes to unload at sea or pierside. MSC chartered the first two ship classes in the MPS role (the Corporal Louis J. Hauge Jr. and Sergeant Matej Kocak classes) from civilian shipping lines and converted them. Later ships were purpose-built.

Ships[edit | edit source]

Sergeant Matej Kocak class[edit | edit source]

PFC. Eugene A. Obregon

The Sergeant Matej Kocak Class, the second class of MPS ships chartered by MSC, also gained 157 feet (48 m) amidships and a helicopter deck after conversion. These ships, delivered to MSC in the mid-1980s, built at Sun Shipbuilding & Drydock Co., Chester, Pennsylvania and converted at National Steel and Shipbuilding Company, San Diego. They were previously owned by Waterman Steamship Corporation but recently sold to MSC and now operated by Keystone Shipping Co.

  • Builder: Sun Shipbuilding & Drydock Co., Chester, PA; General Dynamics Quincy Shipbuilding Division, Quincy, MA
  • Converted: National Steel and Shipbuilding Company, San Diego, CA
  • Power Plant: 2 boilers; 2 GE turbines; 30,000 hp (22 MW); 1 shaft
  • Length: 821 feet (250.2 m)
  • Beam: 105.6 feet (32.2 m)
  • Displacement: 48,754 tons (49,536 metric tons) full load
  • Cargo capacity: Containers, 532; ro-ro, 152,236 ft² (14,143 m²); JP-5 barrels, 20,290; DF-2 barrels, 12,355; Mogas barrels, 3,717; stable water, 2,189; cranes, 2 twin 50 ton and 1-30 ton gantry
  • Helicopters: platform only
  • Speed: 20 knots
  • Ships:
  • Crew: 34 civilians, 10 technicians

2nd Lieutenant John P. Bobo class[edit | edit source]

The 2nd Lieutenant John P. Bobo class ships are new construction ships delivered to MSC in the mid-1980s from General Dynamics Quincy Shipbuilding Division, Quincy, Mass. They were owned by American Overseas Marine (AMSEA) but have been recently sold to MSC and are now operated by Crowley Technical Management.

Capt Steven L. Bennett class[edit | edit source]

SSG Edward A. Carter Jr. class[edit | edit source]

Buffalo Soldier class[edit | edit source]

  • Length: 670 feet (200 m)
  • Beam: 87 feet (27 m)
  • Draft: 34 feet (10 m), six inches
  • Displacement: 26,378 long tons
  • Speed: 16 knots
  • Civilian: 21 contract mariners

Maj. Bernard F. Fisher class[edit | edit source]

1st Lt. Harry L. Martin class[edit | edit source]

LCPL Roy M. Wheat class[edit | edit source]

  • Length: 863 feet 2 inches
  • Beam: 98 feet 5 inches
  • Draft: 35 feet (11 m)
  • Displacement: 50,570 long tons
  • Speed: 20.5 knots
  • Civilian: 29 contract mariners

LTC John U. D. Page class[edit | edit source]

  • Length: 949.8 feet (289.5 m)
  • Beam: 105.9 feet (32.3 m)
  • Draft: 35 feet (11 m)
  • Displacement: 74,500 long tons
  • Speed: 18 knots
  • Civilian: 20 contract mariners

High-speed vessels[edit | edit source]

HSV 2 class[edit | edit source]

  • Length: 331 feet 4 inches
  • Beam: 87 feet 5 inches
  • Draft: 11 feet (3.4 m)
  • Displacement: 1,463.6 short tons
  • Speed: 35 knots
  • Civilian: 17 contract mariners
  • Military: as required by mission

Westpac Express class[edit | edit source]

  • Length: 331 feet (101 m)
  • Beam: 87 feet (27 m)
  • Draft: 14 feet (4.3 m)
  • Displacement: NOTE: 32,000 square feet (3,000 m2) of cargo capacity, designed for roll-on/roll-off
  • Speed: 33 knots
  • Civilian: 14 contract mariners

Large, medium-speed roll-on/roll-off ships[edit | edit source]

Watson class[edit | edit source]

The Watson-class of LMSR built at National Steel and Shipbuilding Company in San Diego

Tankers[edit | edit source]

Offshore petroleum distribution system[edit | edit source]

Activated Ready Reserve Force ships[edit | edit source]

The following are part of the National Defense Reserve Fleet but have been activated and are pre-positioned.

Modular cargo delivery system ship[edit | edit source]

  • Length: 565 feet (172 m)
  • Beam: 76 feet (23 m)
  • Draft: 31 feet (9.4 m)
  • Displacement: 22,929 long tons
  • Speed: 17.0 knots
  • Civilian: 38 contract mariners

Wright class[edit | edit source]

Dedicated to USMC aviation logistics support.

Former ships[edit | edit source]

Corporal Louis J. Hauge Jr. class[edit | edit source]

Named for Medal of Honor recipient Louis J. Hauge Jr. USMC, the Corporal Louis J. Hauge Jr. class is the original class of MPS ships chartered by Military Sealift Command. The five ships are Maersk Line ships converted by Bethlehem Steel. During conversion, the ships gained an additional 157 feet (48 m) amidships and a helicopter landing pad, among other things. They have since been returned to Maersk for commercial use and are no longer part of the MPS program.

See also[edit | edit source]

Further reading[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

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