Military Sealift Command’s MV Ocean Jazz Treks Through the Pacific Supporting Multiple Exercises

Military Sealift Command Far East
Story by Grady Fontana

Date: 08.30.2017
Posted: 08.30.2017 03:20
News ID: 246505
Military Sealift Command’s MV Ocean Jazz Treks Through the Pacific Supporting Multiple Exercises

CHUK SAMET, Thailand (Aug. 29, 2017)—Heavy-lift vessel MV Ocean Jazz arrived in Thailand to backload equipment from exercise Hanuman Guardian 2017 (HG 17), continuing its voyage in support of six back-to-back exercises.

Hanuman Guardian is a U.S.-Thailand army-to-army exercise designed to improve humanitarian assistance and disaster relief response, stability operations and soldier skills.

During the two-day backload operation, members of the Royal Thai Navy and U.S. service members loaded about 150 end items onboard the Ocean Jazz, which is currently on an MSC time-chartered contract to support U.S. Army Pacific (USARPAC).

The Ocean Jazz most recently retrieved USARPAC equipment from Australia, which supported exercise Talisman Saber 2017 (TS 17). After the TS 17 backload, the Ocean Jazz continued the voyage to backload gear from Thailand in support of HG 17.

“What’s interesting about this operation is that the Ocean Jazz is carrying the equipment that will support six separate USARPAC exercises,” said Christopher M. Cassano, plans director, Military Sealift Command (MSC) Far East. “During a single voyage plan, the Ocean Jazz will have traveled to six ports in six countries, while supporting six exercises: Talisman Saber in Australia, Tiger Balm in Singapore, Keris Strike in Malaysia, Garuda Shield in Indonesia, Hanuman Guardian in Thailand, and Orient Shield in Japan.”

The Ocean Jazz is engaged in a mobility operation for USARPAC called Pacific Pathways 17-2 and 3, where the ship hops around the Pacific region supporting these follow-on missions.

Pacific Pathways is an innovation that links a series of U.S. Pacific Command-directed Security Cooperation exercises with allied and partner militaries to a single MSC charter vessel on a single voyage plan that delivers U.S. Army equipment to support the various exercises. The Pacific Pathways concept commits a designated task force and their force package equipment to the entire duration of a pathway.

Reserve-component Sailors of MSC’s Expeditionary Port Unit 112 (EPU 112), from Little Rock, Ark., were in Thailand during their two-week annual training to support the backload. EPUs are highly mobile units that can quickly deploy anywhere in the world to establish port operations, even when port infrastructure is damaged or destroyed.

“The biggest benefit that we get out of this type of scenario as an EPU is familiarizing and gaining an understanding of what the various players are doing in the operation,” said Lt. Cmdr. Joshua Gillespie, operations officer, EPU 112. “We learn to understand the vocabulary and how their processes work so we can better support the operation, if we’re ever mobilized.”

The Ocean Jazz is a member of the Maritime Security Program, a listing of American-flag ships that are assets the U.S. military can draw upon during contingencies. Ocean Jazz is a time-chartered commercial container ship that is contracted by MSC for USARPAC to support the Army’s transportation requirements.

MSC operates approximately 120 non-combatant, civilian-crewed ships that replenish U.S. Navy ships, conduct specialized missions, strategically preposition combat cargo at sea around the world and move military cargo and supplies used by deployed U.S. forces and coalition partners.