RFA and US counterpart discuss closer cooperation to support global missions
Commander US Military Sealift Command (US MSC) Rear Admiral Michael A Wettlaufer and Royal Fleet Auxiliary Head of Service Commodore David Eagles joined the amphibious support ship in Portsmouth, fresh from her few days on the Thames at Greenwich joining in Platinum Jubilee celebrations.
Military Sealift Command – in existence since 1949 in a different form – is responsible for providing sealift and ocean transportation for the entire US military as well as for other government agencies.
It has historically maintained strong links with its older UK cousin and the visit to Mounts Bay allowed Rear Admiral Wettlaufer and the RFA’s head, Commodore David Eagles, to discuss the opportunities and challenges facing both organisations.
Despite the differences in scale, there is significant common ground between both Services and much to be gained from ongoing collaboration and liaison.
The American guest received a tour of Mounts Bay, led by her Commanding Officer, Captain James Wingrove RFA, who underlined the utility and flexibility of the three Bay-class ships – built to support Royal Marines amphibious operations, but equally adept at assisting mine warfare operations in the Gulf or conducting disaster relief work in the Caribbean.
“Our two Services are working increasingly closely together around the globe, as demonstrated during operations in the Indian Ocean and Pacific during the Carrier Strike Group 21 deployment – and more recently in the North Atlantic,” said Commodore Eagles.
“We share many of the same challenges and opportunities and there is much to be learned from ongoing liaison and partnership between the RFA and US MSC. To this end I am very proud to showcase the extraordinary capability of the RFA Bay-class to our US guests. Exciting times for both Services.”