MIL-OSI Security: Defense News: Skagen Welcomes USS Wasp

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Source: United States Navy

The amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1), and embarked Marines from the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) Special Operations Capable (SOC), arrived in Skagen for a scheduled refueling and resupply, June 12th, 2024.

Skagen is Wasp’s first port visit since entering the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations. During the transit across the Atlantic Ocean, Wasp conducted multiple successful replenishments-at-sea with Military Sealift Command supply vessels. Once Wasp had entered the North Sea, conducting a resupply with a NATO member was an opportunity the first-in-class assault ship’s commanding officer, Capt. Christopher Purcell, was eager to seize.

“Having the full support of our NATO Allies make it easier for us to accomplish our mission,” said Purcell. “We’re happy to pull into such a beautiful port and have the chance to interact with the people of Skagen, even if only for a short resupply. The crew would love to visit longer in the future to experience everything the area has to offer.”

Though the Port of Skagen has a long maritime history as home to fleets of civilian fishing vessels, it was not always able to accommodate larger ships, such as Wasp.

The original Skagen fishing harbor was built in 1907. Since then, it has evolved into a port consisting of an industrial harbor that continues to support the fishing industry, as well as facilities for cruise ships. In 2022, a new 600-meter port was built and is now utilized by cruise lines and cargo ships alike. The expansion of its piers and depth of their basin – which allow for bigger ships – has made local harbor pilots a critical necessity.

Jørgen Busk Vestergaard, a Danish harbor pilot in Skagen, boarded Wasp as it entered port to work with the navigation team and guide the ship safely pier-side.

“As typical with American warships, it was a very professional crew,” said Vestergaard. “The biggest difference with bringing in a warship is it’s a lot of people. It was nice to have direct communication with [the person] who gives commands across the ship, and that made it very easy to pull the ship into port.”

While in port, Wasp is taking on fuel, such as jet propellant-5 (JP-5), and supplies in the form of food and other dry goods. The planning and logistics of bringing fuel and food for more than 3,000 Sailors and Marines on a 41,000-ton warship is a monumental task for a small fishing town. Cmdr. Lee Eubanks, Wasp’s supply officer, explained how receiving the necessities from Skagen was such a success for the ship.

“We really are stretching our logistics hubs to maximize our capabilities as we operate in the northern 6th Fleet area of operations,” said Eubanks. “We can’t accomplish our mission without resupplying. Having the ability to pull into a town, dock at a pier we’ve never docked at, and be welcomed the way we were, proves that we can accomplish anything with the support of our Allies and partners.”

Wasp is scheduled to participate in Baltic Operations 2024 (BALTOPS24) as the flagship of the Wasp Amphibious Ready Group and embarked 24th MEU (SOC). BALTOPS is an annual, multinational exercise designed to enhance interoperability and demonstrate NATO- and partner-force resolve to defend the Baltic region. The exercise will test the flexibility of joint forces in order to strengthen the combined capabilities necessary for immediate maritime crisis response and regional stability.

You can follow USS Wasp’s adventures on Facebook and Instagram (@usswasp_lhd1)

To learn more about WASP ARG and 24th MEU “Team of Teams,” visit their DVIDS feature page at https://www.dvidshub.net/feature/wasparg24thmeu.

MIL Security OSI