GULF OF ADEN (NNS) -- The Harpers Ferry-class amphibious dock landing ship USS Harpers Ferry’s (LSD 49) successfully conducted a vertical replenishment-at-sea (VERTREP) from Military Sealift Command dry cargo and ammunition ship USNS Cesar Chavez (T-AKE 14) flight deck, July 6.
During the VERTREP, 64 pallets, carrying mostly food and mail, were transferred via an SA-330J Puma Helicopter attached to Military Sealift Command, to Harpers Ferry’s flight deck.
“This VERTREP went very smooth,” said Chief Boatswain’s Mate Michael Cleary, from Tucson, Arizona, Harpers Ferry safety officer. “They have done a couple VERTREPs on this deployment in the same roles and I guess the previous experience paid off because this most recent one was the smoothest and quickest VERTREP they have done so far.”
The flight deck team was lead by Boatswain’s Mate 2nd Class Cody Platt and included Boatswain’s Mates 3rd Class Daniel Aguirre and Nicole Esparza as the landing signal enlisted, with Boatswain’s Mate 3rd Class Anthony Gargarello and Boatswain’s Mate Seaman Darlin Salas as the tractor drivers.
This VERTREP marked Harpers Ferry fifth replenishment-at-sea since deployment and its second since entering 5th Fleet. The 5-hour VERTREP was accomplished with an all hands working party, including 358 Sailors and 348 Marines.
“VERTREPs are important because they supply the ship with high priority repair parts, and they also bring us care packages,” said Lt. Christopher Thompson, from Covington, Louisiana, Harpers Ferry assistant supply officer. “Not only do VERTREPs improve our ships' readiness, they also improve our morale.”
Harpers Ferry received 18 pallets of mail consisting of care packages and letters from loved ones.
“It really meant a lot to get a care package from home,” said Personnel Specialist 3rd Class Maxwell Martin, from Nashville, Tennessee. “Since entering 5th fleet, we haven’t been able to communicate with our families and friends on social media, so getting a package really makes up for that.”
Harpers Ferry is part of the Boxer Amphibious Ready Group and 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit and is deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations in support of naval operations to ensure maritime stability and security in the Central Region, connecting the Mediterranean and the Pacific through the Western Indian Ocean and three strategic choke points.
For more news from USS Boxer (LHD 4), visit www.navy.mil/local/lhd4/.