South China Sea (March 19, 2006) – Amphibious command ship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) Sailors look on as a refueling probe crosses over the South China Sea, during a replenishment at sea (RAS) with the Military Sealift Command (MSC) underway replenishment oiler USNS Walter S. Diehl (T-AO 193). Blue Ridge, the 7th Fleet command ship, is currently underway for a regularly scheduled deployment throughout the 7th Fleet area of responsibility. U.S. Navy photo by Journalist Seaman Marc Rockwell-Pate
In the good old days of Navy Operations, coaling stations had been located in friendly ports around the world and sailors would get shore leave while their ships were replenished with fuel and supplies. Despite the boost of morale that shore leave provided, coaling stations had two operational disadvantages: the competition between the colonial powers for suitable sites astride the world’s trade routes, and the introduction of a predictable pattern to a nation’s naval operations.
As any bluejacket familiar with the term Go Rub Your Balls With Grease can tell you Underway replenishment (UNREP US Navy) or replenishment at sea (The rest of the world) eliminated this need by providing a method of transferring fuel, munitions, and stores from one ship to another while under way.
The following is a time lapse video of an UNREP operation performed between a Military Sealift Command (MSC) ship Royal Fleet Auxiliary Fort Victoria and the USS Kearsarge, a US Navy Wasp-class amphibious assault ship.
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