Naval History and Heritage Command

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Supply IV (T-AOE-6)


The fourth U.S. Navy ship named for the general word classification.


(T-AOE-6: displacement 50,858; length 754'; beam 107'; draft 40'; speed 30 knots; complement 708; armament 1 NATO Sea Sparrow, 2 Phalanx Close-in Weapons Systems (CIWS), 2 25 millimeter Bushmaster guns, and 4 .50-cal. machine guns; aircraft 2 helicopters; class Supply)

The fourth Supply (T-AOE-6) was laid down on 24 February 1989 at San Diego, Calif., by National Steel & Shipbuilding Co.; launched on 6 October 1990, sponsored by Mrs. Carol A. Walker, wife of Rear Adm. Edward K. Walker Jr., Chief of Supply Corps; and was commissioned on 26 February 1994, Capt. John J. Bepko III, in command.

Supply was decommissioned and placed in service with the Military Sealift Command (MSC) on 13 July 2001.

Hurricane Katrina made landfall along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico on 29 August 2005. A catastrophic storm surge inundated the levees along the Mississippi River and the rising waters flooded 80% of New Orleans, La. The ships that took part in the humanitarian relief operations under the command of Joint Task Force Katrina included aircraft carrier Harry S. Truman (CVN-75) and Supply. At dawn on 2 September Supply refueled Harry S. Truman with 1.3 million gallons of jet fuel, enabling the carrier to support USA and USN helicopters that subsequently embarked and flew relief missions to the victims of the disaster.

“We've never taken on this much fuel at one time since I’ve been here,” Harry S. Truman’s Aviation Boatswain’s Mate 2nd Class Johnny Clayborne, a New Orleans native, observed. “It’s difficult. This is a larger amount of fuel, so we have to do a lot more testing for the purity of the fuel.”

“We have more than 20,000 bottles of water and more than 17,000 [meals, ready to eat],” the carrier’s Supply Officer, Cmdr. John Palmer, of Lexington, Ky., added. “We also have cots, sheets and blankets.”

“It makes me feel proud — Americans helping Americans,” Harry S. Truman’s Boatswain’s Mate 3rd Class Josh Van Drei, of Valley City, Ohio, reflected. “We're primarily a fighting force and not a humanitarian aid force, but going to help people lets them see the wide range of what the military can do.”

Detailed history under construction.

Mark L. Evans

27 November 2015

Published: Wed Dec 02 09:32:01 EST 2015