US Spearhead-class vessel deploys for theater security cooperation patrol in SEA

United States Navy Spearhead-class expeditionary fast transport vessel USNS Millinocket (T-EPF-3), with sailors from 7th Fleet, was sent off from Singapore on May 19 for a theater security cooperation (TSC) patrol in Southeast Asia.

The goodwill mission consists of port calls and bilateral events in several Southeast Asian countries.

“We have been a constant presence in the region for the last 75 years, and welcome this opportunity to work with our allies and partners in the region,” said US 7th Fleet commander Vice Admiral Phil Sawyer.

The 7th Fleet said the vessel will also host receptions in several foreign ports to demonstrate their commitment to strengthening and fostering relationships in the region.

“We are excited to make the most of these port visits, and the entire TSC mission, to be US Navy ambassadors and to reinforce the message that we will be here to help our partners and allies maintain peace and security in the region,” said Capt. Bernie Wang, the 7th Fleet theater security cooperation director and senior officer on the patrol.

Millinocket is one of three expeditionary fast transport ships in the US 7th Fleet area of responsibility, designed for the fast intra-theater transportation of troops, military vehicles, and equipment. She was chosen for this unique mission due to her mobility, flexibility, and ability to pull into ports not usually accessible to a ship of her size.

“Currently manned by more than 20 civil service mariners, she will also host U.S. 7th Fleet Band members and Marines from Fleet Antiterrorism Security Team Pacific (FASTPAC),” 7th Fleet said.

It added that FASTPAC Marines plan on participating in many joint exercises with foreign militaries while Millinocket visits foreign ports providing training in hand-to-hand combat and visit, board, search and seizure demonstrations. The embarked 7th Fleet staff and band will participate in several engagements designed to solidify regional relationships, including subject matter exchanges, concerts, and community service events.