USNS Matthew Perry Completes Underway to Hawaii

Story Number: NNS100510-03Release Date: 5/10/2010 2:18:00 PM
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By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Robert Stirrup, Commander, Navy Region Hawaii Public Affairs

PEARL HARBOR (NNS) -- On its first underway to the middle Pacific, Military Sealift Command dry cargo/ammunition ship USNS Matthew Perry (T-AKE 9) completed a scheduled port visit to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam and Lahaina, Maui, May 6.

Matthew Perry, the ninth Military Sea Command (MSC) dry cargo/ammunition ship, is currently conducting pre-deployment sea trials in the Pacific.

"While in Pearl Harbor, we tested our shore power using the facilities available and we also conducted training with our cranes and other equipment," said civil service Capt. William Baldwin, commanding officer of Matthew Perry. "This underway also gave us the opportunity to conduct deep ocean-work."

"In Lahaina, we conducted exercises using the ground tackle equipment and tested the capabilities of the accommodation ladders along with other training exercises," Baldwin said.

Cmdr. John Brughelli, military detachment officer-in-charge, explained the different abilities of the T-AKE class ship.

"The T-AKE class ships provide effective fleet underway replenishment capability at the lowest life cycle cost," said Brughelli. "The T-AKE makes use of labor-saving automation where possible."

Brughelli, also talked about how the new T-AKE class ships can take on the missions that the old T-AE and T-AFS class ships would have a tough time accommodating.

"The potential use for these ships outside of these traditional roles is limited only by the imagination," explained Brughelli. "The ships of this class have already proven their flexibility in supporting non-traditional missions such as humanitarian, disaster relief and as a makeshift 'brig' in the anti-piracy efforts off of Somalia."

Chief Logistics Specialist Althea Sebert noted the importance of current and future service that Matthew Perry is delivering to the Pacific Fleet.

"USNS Matthew Perry replenishes the more than 50 ships currently operating in the Pacific Fleet with necessary fuel, cargo and ammunition," Sebert said. "We are proud to be the newest member of the T-AKE family and look forward to our future missions."

While participating in sea trials, crew members had the opportunity to learn about the new equipment and gain knowledge about the ship while working together as a team.

"This pre-deployment cruise has given us a great opportunity to get familiar with the new ship's equipment and better prepares us for our future deployments to the Pacific," said Chief Mate Mark Perdue. "I am extremely proud of the teamwork and contributions from all of our personnel aboard the USNS Matthew Perry."

While in-port in Hawaii, crew members took advantage of their free time to explore the different attractions.

"Hawaii is a beautiful island and everything is very accessible," said Ensign Alexandra Deguzman. "I went to Paradise Cove Luau and enjoyed the dinner/show. I also went on an ocean adventure tour and enjoyed about 3 hours of snorkeling and saw some sea turtles, dolphins, and exotic fishes."

Commodore Matthew C. Perry proposed a plan in 1850 for diplomatic missions to Japan and eventually compelled the opening of Japan to the West with the Convention of Kanagawa in 1854. Perry's naval career spanned nearly 50 years and he was known as the "father of the steam Navy."

"Since we will be operating in the Western Pacific, we look forward to bringing his namesake ship back to where he created so much history," said Baldwin. "I'm honored to be the captain and have been able to serve aboard the USNS Matthew Perry."

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