U.S. Navy photo by Linda E. McDanie
MSC's third mission area can be traced back to 1972 to a series of tests, code-named the Charger Logs, to see if civilians could provide the at-sea logistics support that had been provided by uniformed -Navy-crewed ships. Tests demonstrated that civilian mariners could perform these support functions successfully and cost-effectively. In May 1972, fleet oiler USNS Taluga became "The first underway replenishment ship turned over by the U.S. Navy for civil service mariner operation", marking the birth of MSC's Naval Fleet Auxiliary Force. Taluga was followed by other tankers transferred from the active Navy, and sixteen purpose-built oilers of the Henry J. Kaiser-class. Other types and classes followed. The Powhatan-class fleet ocean tugs and Safeguard-class rescue and salvage ships owe their existence to MSC fleet support ship USNS Mosopelea and her three sisters. USNS Rigel and USNS Kilauea led to the acquisition and transfer of three Sirius-class and six Mars-class stores ships and six subsequent ammunition vessels. The end result is the design of the Lewis and Clark-class dry cargo/ammunition ships. From: "SEALIFT"
The navy oiler Taluga (AO-62) was the first fleet-support ship to be placed under MSC control. Decommissioned on 4 May 1972, she was transferred to the MSC and redesignated T-AO-62. After her transfer, the ship underwent a thorough overall that included refurbishment of equipment, gear, and refueling rigs, modification of crew quarters, and the removal of armaments. She entered service with a crew of 105 civilian mariners hired by the government augmented by a sixteen-member naval complement. The latter, being familiar with navy doctrine, procedures, and encryption equipment, handled all communication functions.
On her first assignment, USNS Taluga deployed to the Pacific providing direct support to the Seventh Fleet where she conducted 160 underway replenishments. Her first master, Capt. Lawrence Nasset, received numerous awards and letters of commendation for his highly successful efforts in transforming Taluga from a navy-crewed to a civilian-crewed vessel. From: "Gray Steel and Black Oil"
|Two MSC "Ship Mastert's" I know are Capt.
Pat Moloney and Capt.
Bruce Butterfield |
Both served aboard TALUGA