ROK General Tours USNS Soderman

by Story and photo by Grady Fontana
Military Sealift Command East
BUSAN, South Korea — A senior Republic of Korea (ROK) official visited one of Military Sealift Command’s (MSC) largest Maritime Prepositioning Force ships, the USNS Soderman (T-AKR 317) Aug. 18, at Pier 8, here.
General Chan Joo Park, commander, 2 Operations Command, ROK Army, received a command brief of the military units in Pier 8; and a guided tour of and the large, medium-speed, roll-on/roll-off ship (LMSR) USNS Soderman, a vessel that can carry an entire U.S. Army Task Force, including 58 tanks, 48 other tracked vehicles, plus more than 900 trucks and other wheeled vehicles.
The tour highlighted the unique capabilities of the Soderman with regards to its lifting capabilities with its cranes, its communication suites and the volume of cargo she can carry.
“This ship shows the great capabilities of the U.S. military,” said Park through an interpreter. 
Park was impressed by the Soderman and highlighted that the Soderman plays a crucial role in supporting efforts in the Pacific.
“It’s a good team effort,” emphasized civilian mariner Capt. Gregory Goolishian, master of USNS Soderman. “During an actual offload here, we need the help of the Korean Army. When we conducted (Joint Logistics Over the Shore) 2016, we depend a lot on the ROK Army for things like security and support trucks on the pier.”
The event was hosted by the Military Sealift Command Office Korea, members of the ROK armed forces, and the crew of the Soderman, which operationally is part of Maritime Prepositioning Ships Squadron Three (MPSRON 3). 
Soderman is one of MSC's 19 LMSRs and is part of 36 ships in the U.S. military's prepositioning program. The ship is 950 feet in length, displaces more than 62,640 tons and is operated by a crew of 30 merchant mariners. 
MPSRON 3, operating in the western Pacific, maintains tactical control of the 12 ships carrying afloat prepositioned U.S. military cargo for the U.S. Marine Corps, the U.S. Army and the U.S. Air Force. The squadron’s mission is to enable force from the sea by providing swift and effective transportation of vital equipment and supplies for designated operations.
MSC operates approximately 120 non-combatant, civilian-crewed ships that replenish U.S. Navy ships, conduct specialized missions, strategically preposition combat cargo at sea around the world and move military cargo and supplies used by deployed U.S. forces and coalition partners.

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