Note: Rear Adm. Thomas K. Shannon relieved Rear Adm. Mark H. Buzby as commander, Military Sealift Command, during a change of command ceremony aboard USNS Spearhead (JHSV 1), May 10. The following blog reflects his thoughts on assuming command at MSC.
Sailing Confidently Into the Future
It’s great to join Military Sealift Command! This is a job I’ve wanted from the moment I graduated from Maine Maritime Academy and began serving our country. Although I genuinely miss sea duty, I assure all of my MSC shipmates that I will visit as many of you as I can – as often as I can.
I try to be judicious in the use of the word “I.” As anyone who’s been around the waterfront for a while knows, it’s all about our mariners and sailors who operate our Navy’s MSC ships. You’re out there, around the world, every day, supporting our warfighters, as our Chief of Naval Operations says, “where it matters – when it matters.”
Whether you’re serving on a fleet replenishment oiler supporting a carrier strike group, or an oceanographic survey ship gathering critical data, you’re doing an important job. If your time afloat is spent on a prepositioning ship stocked with the vehicles, gear and ammunition for our Army, Navy, Air Force or Marine Corps, you are making a positive and important difference in our nation’s reaction time in contingencies. If you’re working on a rescue and salvage ship helping clear wreckage from a harbor or on a chartered float-on/float-off vessel hauling Navy mine hunters to the Middle East, you’re part of our global force for good, supporting our U.S. armed forces with everything they need to maintain readiness, win the battle or sustain the peace.
Our new joint, high-speed vessels operated by our CIVMAR crews offer fleet and geographical commanders exciting capabilities with their speed, shallow-draft and flexible mission loads, options that could make a difference in tight situations.
The presence of USS Ponce, our interim afloat forward staging base, in the Arabian Gulf brings our Navy a solid sense of confidence as a platform for a multitude of missions and a forward operating base. When USNS Montford Point and our other new mobile landing platform ships and their afloat forward staging base variants reach operational capability, they, too, will support and be part of our great Navy.
When we look at what our Military Sealift Command brings to the fight, we begin to understand the high level of trust we enjoy within our Navy. Our mariners crew our Navy ships that allow our combatant fleet to put warfighting first. MSC ships provide the combat logistics that keep our Navy operating forward, always ready.
Our Navy’s civilian mariners and uniformed sailors are the best on the planet. At MSC we’re on top of our game, and that’s where we’ll stay as we sail confidently into the future.
Thanks for your service,
Thomas K. Shannon
Rear Admiral, U.S. Navy
Commander, Military Sealift Command
About Thomas K. Shannon
A graduate of Maine Maritime Academy and native of Calais, Maine, Shannon assumed command of MSC following his last tour of duty as Commander, Carrier Strike Group One in San Diego, Calif.
Shannon’s at sea assignments include tours aboard USS Jack Williams (FFG 24), USS Nicholson (DD 982) and USS Boone (FFG 28). His afloat staff duty includes chief staff officer in Destroyer Squadron 14 and surface operations officer in Cruiser Destroyer Group 12. He was also commanding officer of USS De Wert (FFG 45), commanding officer of USS Vicksburg (CG 69) and air defense commander for the John F. Kennedy Battle Group.
MSC operates approximately 110 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.
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