USS CARL VINSON (NNS) -- USS Camden (AOE 2) is currently halfway through its final deployment, supplying U.S. 5th Fleet operations.
The fast combat support ship departed Bremerton, Wash., Jan. 18 as part of the USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) Strike Group and will decommission later this year.
"We are the only active duty AOE left in the Navy," said Camden's Commanding Officer, Capt. Kenneth Norton. "When we return back to Bremerton, we will decommission two-and-a-half months later."
The ship can carry more than 50,000 tons of supplies to support the Carl Vinson Strike Group and coalition forces operating in the Gulf region. These supplies, including ammunition, potable water, jet fuel, dry goods and frozen foods, have been offloaded to more than 45 ships, including some repeat customers.
Carl Vinson's last replenishment with Camden saw the transfer of not only food and dry goods, but also half-a-million gallons of jet fuel.
"The British repair ship, Diligence, received about 60,000 gallons of potable water from us recently," said Norton. "We had both ships dead in the water, and they threw lines across to us so we could hook the ships together and transfer the water to them."
Camden, supporting coalition forces conducting MSO in the Gulf, recently started to offer direct support to the troops in Iraq by transporting ammunition into Kuwait.
Camden has seen eight port calls since leaving the waters around the United States, including Bahrain, Dubai, Guam and Singapore.
"The crew's attitude is really positive," said Norton. "We are able to pull into port almost every week, giving the crew a chance to relax."
The Carl Vinson Strike Group is conducting operations in support of multinational forces in Iraq and maritime security operations in the Gulf in order to set the conditions for security and stability in the region.
The strike group is comprised of Carrier Strike Group 3, Carrier Air Wing 9, Destroyer Squadron 31, the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Carl Vinson, the guided-missile cruiser USS Antietam (CG 54), the guided-missile destroyers USS O' Kane (DDG 77) and USS Mustin (DDG 89), the fast-combat support ship Camden, and Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 11, Det. 9.
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