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    Able Seaman Sees Big Picture and His Role in It

    Yukon Crew Replenishes Fleet

    Photo By Leslie Hull-Ryde | Ranard D. McPherson and fellow civil service mariners aboard USNS Yukon (T-AO 202)...... read more read more



    Story by Leslie Hull-Ryde 

    Military Sealift Command Far East

    To operate any U.S. Navy ship, including those part of the Military Sealift Command, the captain needs a helmsman he or she can turn to with confidence, knowing the person on point for the safe maneuvering is trained, ready, and up for the task.

    On USNS Yukon (T-AO 202), that go-to person is sometimes Able Seaman Ranard McPherson.

    "I'm responsible for steering the vessel, conducting security, and look-out duties while out at sea," the Charleston, South Carolina, native said.

    In addition to those on the bridge, he has other responsibilities on board the fleet replenishment oiler, which is part of the U.S. Navy's Combat Logistics Force. For instance, if a fire were ever to break out on Yukon, as a hose man, he'd be on the front lines fighting it.

    McPherson, who studied computer science at National University in San Diego and earned an Associate of Science degree in electronics as a network administrator from Southwestern College in Chula Vista, California, also understands the responsibility he has to keeping the ship in shape. To do that, McPherson conducts routine maintenance and makes general repairs.

    While his regular tasks may seem mundane to some, McPherson believes these day-to-day operations are critical pieces of a much bigger picture.

    "During replenishments at sea, I operate fueling stations to deliver liquid cargo to USS and USNS ships so they maintain the ability to stay at sea for longer periods of time."

    "Whatever cargo our military needs to protect our nation, the able seaman onboard vessels are trained to provide these services while our troops and Sailors can remain on station without having to pull into a port to get the required equipment."

    In the five years he's been with Military Sealift Command, McPherson has served with the same passion and dedication he demonstrated during his eight years on active duty. With MSC, he has been assigned to USNS Mercy (T-AH 19), USNS Richard E. Byrd (T-AKE 4), USNS Kanawha (T-AO 196), USNS Laramie (T-AO 203), USS Ponce (LPD 15), USS Mount Whitney (LCC 20), and now Yukon.

    Regardless of the platform, McPherson understands the importance of the mission and his role in achieving it.

    What are your responsibilities?
    I drive the ship; I am a firefighter on the ship, and I take care of the equipment on the ship. I help tie and untie the ship to the pier in and out of port; I perform security on the ship, and I deliver goods and services to other ships.

    How does your job contribute to mission accomplishment?
    It's a huge impact, especially economically, considering the fact that our military can be provided all the tools, their mail, food replenishments, ammo, and other important supplies that are needed to help sustain support to all military operations. The able seaman (AB) plays a vital role onboard ship due to the extensive requirements it takes to take a ship out to sea. The mooring lines and anchors that one sees when a ship is docked are all handled by ABs. Also, a ship cannot sail without a helmsman, which is a job performed by ABs. The AB also plays a part of the transfer of all goods and services that are provided to other ships or to other installations around the world.

    What's the most difficult or challenging part of your job?
    The most challenging part of my job is being away from my loved ones. When I am able to see them while on vacation, I try to soak up as much love, laughter, knowledge, and wisdom to refuel me for my next four months while I'm away back at work. Trust me, it's always a great time with the McPherson family.

    What's the most gratifying part of your job?
    The most gratifying part of my job is knowing that I'm part of a bigger picture. Working for Military Sealift Command, I have had the opportunity to provide humanitarian assistance to various countries to include: Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Indonesia, Timor Leste, Japan, Malaysia, and too many others to list. Putting a smile on someone's face is a great feeling, and to know that I'm making a difference in someone's' life is an even better feeling.

    What would you say to others who may be interested in joining MSC?
    It's the easiest way to travel the world, explore different cultures, meet new people, and you get paid while doing it.



    Date Taken: 04.30.2021
    Date Posted: 04.29.2021 22:39
    Story ID: 395190

    Web Views: 236
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