Military Sealift Command’s USNS William McClean Joins Harvey Relief Efforts

msc ship joins harvey relief
Military Sealift Command’s dry cargo and ammunition ship USNS William McLean (T-AKE 12) departs Norfolk, Virginia for the Gulf of Mexico in support of ongoing Harvey relief efforts, August 31, 2017. Photo: Military Sealift Command

The Military Sealift Command’s dry cargo and ammunition ship USNS William McLean (T-AKE 12) will join two U.S. Navy warships in the ongoing relief efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.

USNS William McClean got underway on Thursday from Norfolk, Virginia to the Gulf of Mexico, where it will support the amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) and the dock landing ship USS Oak Hill (LSD 51), as well as other federal, state and local agencies, in the ongoing rescue and relief efforts.

“Our main mission is going to be ensuring the other U.S. Navy ships supporting the efforts are able to do their job,” said Joshua Tamasovich, USNS William McLean’s chief mate. “As the ship’s tasking stands currently, McLean is sailing to the Texas and Louisiana areas to provide logistical support to the amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) and dock landing ship USS Oak Hill (LSD 51).”

USS Kearsarge and USS Oak Hill were scheduled to depart from their homeports in Norfolk on Thursday under orders from Adm. Phil Davidson, Commander of the U.S. Fleet Forces Command.

“The crew of McLean is going to be doing what we are really good at; we are ready to deliver food, cargo and fuel to supply the U.S. Navy ships who are going to be directly supporting the disaster relief efforts, as well as any regional crisis support, as required,” added Tamasovich.

USNS William McLean is crewed by approximately 100 civil service mariners who provide all of the ship’s services to include cargo handling, navigation, and propulsion.

“The good thing about this ship is we bring a lot of support options with us,” said Tamasovich. “This ship has a freeze and chill hold so we can make ice if required. We are capable of delivering humanitarian supplies if requested and do have the capability to berth personnel if needed.”

Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas, out of the Gulf of Mexico, on August 26 with high wind and rain causing extensive flooding and damage across the region. State and local agencies are leading the response effort.