NAVAL SUPPORT ACTIVITY NAPLES, Italy (August 3, 2022) – The Forward Deployed Regional Maintenance Center (FDRMC) and its mission partners conducted mid-deployment travel repairs (MDVR) throughout the area of United States Naval Forces Europe (NAVEUR) operations for ships in the Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group (ARG). In a demonstration of the combined logistics and maintenance capability in theater, the FDRMC, U.S. 6th Fleet, Naval Supply Systems Command Fleet Logistics Center Sigonella (NAVSUP FLCSI), and their partners completed full maintenance periods in Copenhagen, Denmark, Rijeka, Croatia and Brest, France in July. 2022.
To remain fully mission-capable throughout a deployment, ships such as the Whidbey Island-class dock landing ship USS Gunston Hall (LSD 44) and the San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship USS Arlington (LPD 24) require regular maintenance. Much of this maintenance can be done at sea or when ships make a brief port call. However, some maintenance work must be done at the dock over a longer period due to job specific requirements or parts. MDVRs are scheduled maintenance periods that allow U.S. ships to perform corrective and preventive maintenance that cannot be performed at sea.
“Taking the time to conduct MDVRs to maintain and repair safety and mission-critical equipment aboard ARG ships was crucial to ensuring the successful continued deployment of the ARG to Sixth Fleet,” said Captain Paige. Sherman, director of logistics for the U.S. 6th Fleet (N41), said. “Deliberate maintenance and logistics efforts in these locations were challenging, but overall, continued work and continued development of relationships with our partners broadens the readiness of our ships and strengthens interoperability with our allies.”
The locations of the MDVRs ahead of typical maintenance community sites such as Rota, Spain and Souda Bay, Greece were unique. The Gunston Hall MDVR in Copenhagen, Denmark, marked a welcome expansion of maintenance efforts in the Baltic region. Arlington’s MDVR in Rijeka, Croatia was the first time the FDRMC and its partners had worked with Viktor Lenac’s shipyard to run an MDVR for a commissioned warship, although the shipyard had long maintained Military Sealift Command ships such as the Lewis B. Puller-class Expeditionary Sea Base USS Hershel “Woody” Williams (ESB 4) and the US Sixth Fleet flagship USS Mount Whitney (LCC 20).
“We are intentionally focused on conducting maintenance and developing our repair capability in Sixth Fleet ports,” said Captain Brian Karosich, commanding officer of FDRMC. “The Fleet Commander needs options to perform repairs when and where needed, so running MDVR in new locations is a natural way for us to expand our efforts and build relationships with our allies as well as industry partners.”
When a vessel undergoes high-tempo operations, it requires regular maintenance to reduce the risk of equipment failures that could impact its mission. To successfully complete an MDVR, the FDRMC works alongside the ship’s crew and its port engineer to identify the key maintenance items needed to keep the ship operational throughout its deployment. These elements are then developed into a contract solicitation, which is executed by NAVSUP FLCSI.
After a tendering period, the work is awarded to an industry partner to perform the maintenance provision. An FDRMC maintenance team consisting of a shipbuilding specialist (SBS), a project support engineer and a quality assurance specialist comes to the vessel to supervise the execution of the work. Additionally, the FDRMC maintenance team may also coordinate efforts with Command Task Force 63, Bahrain-based FDRMC divers, and other elements to support contractor work or other maintenance work. carried out by the force of the ship.
“Performing maintenance abroad is a challenge; doing it ahead of our regular locations, across theater from Norway to South Africa adds additional variables,” said Mr. Simon Godbout, FDRMC SBS for Arlington MDVR. “It is extremely rewarding to work with all of our partners to overcome these challenges and ensure the ship has the maintenance it needs to remain performing for the remainder of the deployment.”
Although not a traditional MDVR, the flagship of the Kearsarge ARG-MEU, the Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3), underwent a period of maintenance in Brest, in France. The logistics and maintenance support provided to Kearsarge by FDRMC, FLCSI and the U.S. Sixth Fleet further demonstrated the power of partnership and the ability to foster relationships with Allies when performing maintenance.
While ships are in port for scheduled and extensive maintenance such as MDVRs, requests for short-term assistance also occur. In addition to scheduled maintenance, the FDRMC supports emerging maintenance requests through fleet technical support.
For the ARG vessels, FDRMC technicians performed onboard technical assistance (OBTA) aboard Kearsarge, Arlington and Gunston Hall. OBTAs allow a vessel to receive additional maintenance assistance not previously scheduled for an MDVR period from FDRMC subject matter experts. Technicians also provide valuable training and mentorship for sailors on board who operate and maintain the ship’s critical systems throughout the deployment.
Through planned and emergent maintenance support alongside the ship force, fleet, NAVSUP FLCSI, CTF-63 and industry partners, FDRMC is proud to perform maintenance in the entire U.S. 6th Fleet whenever needed, keeping forward-deployed ships operational and ready to meet whatever task awaits.
The FDRMC provides emergent, intermediate, and depot-level maintenance and modernization for transitional and forward naval forces deployed to the U.S. Fifth and Sixth Fleets through fleet engineering assistance, voyage repair, supervision of contract management, appraisals, diving and salvage. For more information, visit https://www.navsea.navy.mil/Home/RMC/FDRMC/.