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NAVSUP, mission partners sustain USS Kearsarge ARG readiness for Baltic Sea exercises

12 September 2022

From Joseph Yanik, Naval Supply Systems Command Fleet Logistics Center Sigonella

U.S. 6TH FLEET AREA OF OPERATIONS - USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) Amphibious Ready Group (ARG), and embarked 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), are operating in the Baltic Sea to strengthen interoperability with key NATO allies and partners since May 2022.

In August 2022, the ARG-MEU, consisting of Kearsarge, USS Arlington (LPD 24) and USS Gunston Hall (LSD 44), trained alongside the Finnish and Swedish Navies to foster a shared goal of preserving security and stability in the Baltic region.

To assist the ARG-MEU's approximately 4,000 Sailors and Marines in preparing for the interoperability training events, Naval Supply Systems Command Fleet Logistics Center Sigonella (NAVSUP FLCSI) and its mission partners coordinated the shipment and delivery of mail, provisions, medical supplies and mission-related cargo during the ships' scheduled port visits to Finland, Estonia, Sweden, Latvia and Lithuania.

In anticipation of the ships' arrivals, NAVSUP FLCSI deployed logistics support representatives and a transportation officer to engage directly with the ships' supply departments and their logistics mission partners. NAVSUP FLCSI Transportation Officer Damien Anderson deployed to Helsinki, Finland, for the Kearsarge ARG port visit, Aug. 5-8.

"By being present at the port, I was in a better position to assist the Kearsarge's supply officer with direct actions to meet tight deadlines," said Anderson. "This was especially the case for any military air and commercial shipments that entered the country and needed to be directed to the ship location, and ship parts that needed to be offloaded for repair."

Additionally, the ARG-MEU conducted bilateral exchanges with members of the Finnish Armed Forces, Aug. 9-18, in the Northern Baltic Sea and in the region of Hanko. During the exchange, both navies participated in exercise events throughout the maritime domain. At sea, units participated in amphibious well deck operations, mine-countermeasure demonstrations, ship maneuvering drills, and several quick-response medical exercises. They also shared techniques and procedures, and improved communication and coordination.

"This exercise enabled the Kearsarge ARG-MEU to train and operate alongside our Finnish partners," said Capt. Aaron Kelley, commander of the Kearsarge ARG and embarked Amphibious Squadron SIX. "Finland's expertise is critical to further developing our understanding of the operational environment. Working together improves coordination across our combined maritime force and provides increased readiness and responsiveness, while also demonstrating ally and partner resolve and commitment to security in the Baltic region."

After completing the exercises with the Finnish Navy, Arlington and Gunston Hall conducted a scheduled port visit in Riga, Latvia, Aug. 20. They later joined the rest of the ARG-MEU to participate in a maneuvering exercise with the Swedish Navy, Aug. 30.

"We are well aware of the strategic value the Kearsarge ARG has while operating in the Baltic Sea and how its presence has underscored the ability of U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa to provide flexible and dynamic capabilities where and when needed," said Capt. Douglas S. MacKenzie, NAVSUP FLCSI commanding officer. "We are proud to have played a key role in sustaining the ARG's readiness posture with our products and services so they can complete their mission."

Crewmembers had the opportunity to further explore port visit locations and gain a deeper historical and cultural appreciation of the nations in the region while fostering interpersonal relationships.

"My job was to ensure that trucks of provisions, cargo, mails, medical supplies, and ship stores merchandise were clear of customs before Arlington arrived in Stockholm," said Lt. Tianhao Shi, NAVSUP FLCSI logistics support officer. "Completing the onload on the first day enabled the ship's crewmembers to maximize their much-deserved rest and liberty."

To successfully support the Kearsarge ARG’s port visits, NAVSUP FLCSI personnel coordinated their efforts with logistics mission partners including ARG-MEU supply teams, U.S. Sixth Fleet contracting office representatives, Task Force 63, the Navy Exchange Service Command, host nation embassy defense attachĂ© officers, and husbanding service providers.

Prior to the ARG-MEU's training with their Baltic Sea allies and partners, the ships underwent logistics and maintenance periods (LMPs), including mid-deployment voyage repairs (MDVRs). LMPs and MDVRs involve performing repairs so that ships remain fully mission capable throughout their deployment. Read the full story about NAVSUP's support to the Kearsarge ARG during the ships' July maintenance periods -

"Our ability to support the ARG's logistics and maintenance periods in July and the ships' port visits in August demonstrate our commitment to facilitating end-to-end sustainment for U.S. ships across Europe's High North region as the ARG-MEU crewmembers accomplish their mission of strengthening relationships with Baltic allies and partners while ensuring maritime security throughout the region," MacKenzie said.

Kearsarge ARG is under the command and control of Task Force 61/2. Embarked commands with the ARG include Amphibious Squadron SIX, 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), Fleet Surgical Team 2, Fleet Surgical Team 4, Tactical Air Control Squadron 22, Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 22, Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 28, Assault Craft Unit 2, Assault Craft Unit 4, Naval Beach Group 2, and Beach Master Unit 2. The Kearsarge ARG and larger amphibious task forces provide military commanders a wide range of flexible capabilities including maritime security operations, expeditionary power projection, strike operations, forward naval presence, crisis response, sea control, deterrence, cyber operations, security cooperation and counter-proliferation, and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.

NAVSUP FLCSI is one of eight FLCs under Commander, NAVSUP. Headquartered in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, NAVSUP employs a diverse, worldwide workforce of more than 25,000 military and civilian personnel. NAVSUP and the Navy Supply Corps conduct and enable supply chain, acquisition, operational logistics and Sailor & family care activities with our mission partners to generate readiness and sustain naval forces worldwide to prevent and decisively win wars. NAVSUP FLCSI operates across 14 enduring and forward operating sites; forward contingency and cooperative security locations in 13 countries in Europe and Africa.


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