Sea Transportation: Changes in the U.S. Navy Sealift Command


December 1, 2005: The U.S. Navy Sealift Command went through some changes in the past month. There was the creation of a new subordinate organization, the Military Sealift Fleet Support Command. Then, a new commander was assigned; Rear Admiral. Carol M. Pottenger. The new commander of 133 ships and 5,000 personnel (80 percent of them civilians, who form most of the crews), had previously commanded an ammunition ship, and a combat support ship. She is the first women to run the Sealift Command (as it will continue to be called, except for formal occasions). There is also a reorganization as part of all this, which moves support functions around, and establishes Ship Support Units (SSUs) in San Diego; Guam; Singapore; Bahrain; Yokohama, Japan; and Naples, Italy. The SSUs will provide help with maintenance and personnel issues in the most often used ports of call for the cargo ships of the organization. Admiral Pottenger, in effect, commands 30 percent of the fleet. The U.S. Navy does not count these cargo ships as part of the fleet (of 290 armed ships), but other navies do. These oilers and transports have proved more decisive in the last few two Persian Gulf wars, than the more conventional combat ships of the fleet.


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