MSC Logo
Press Release

MSC PAO 97-68
December 8, 1997
For more information, contact:
Marge Holtz or Lisa Gates
(202) 685-5055

After a six-year deployment,
Pecos heads home

Although the names have changed, the mission remains the same. After more than six years of supporting U.S. Navy ships in the Western Pacific region, Military Sealift Command's fleet oiler USNS Pecos is heading home to the United States. Without missing a step, MSC fleet oiler USNS Walter S. Diehl arrived in the region to take Pecos' place on Nov. 30.

Capt. Mark LaRochelle, Pecos' master, brought the ship west from the United States in June 1991 and is bringing her home again. Over a period of six years, the fleet oiler transported and delivered bulk petroleum products and dry cargo to battle groups and other operating forces at sea in the Western Pacific. Pecos served more than 400 customers, delivering more than 54.6 million gallons of marine diesel fuel and jet aircraft fuel to U.S. and allied ships. Pecos also made five deployments from the Western Pacific to the Persian Gulf during that time.

"Pecos has been more than a fleet oiler," said the Nov. 26 message from Rear Adm. Stephen R. Loeffler, USN, Commander, Logistic Group, Western Pacific. "Pecos has been a full service oiler. During your forward deployment to WESTPAC and the Arabian Gulf, you proved your worth time and again."

"This turnover is significant in that our customers didn't experience any down time during the transition and there was no time lost in transit," said Vice Adm. Jim Perkins, USN, MSC's commander. "We continue to support the 7th Fleet by leaving a ship in the region and are examining more forward stationed ships worldwide. It's a proven concept."

Diehl, which is replacing Pecos, was operating in the Eastern Pacific region and off the coast of Southern California at the time of the turnover. Pecos is expected to arrive back in the United States on Dec. 15.

Pecos and Diehl are two of 12 fleet oilers operated by Military Sealift Command as part of its Naval Fleet Auxiliary Force. The ships in MSC's its Naval Fleet Auxiliary Force provides direct support to U.S. Navy combatant ships worldwide, delivering ammunition, fuel, food and other supplies to them at sea—sustained forward presence. All Naval Fleet Auxiliary Force ships have civil service mariner crews and a small U.S. Navy department on board to provide communications, helicopter operations and technical support. Military Sealift Command provides sea transportation, combat-ready logistics forces and reliable mission ships for the Department of Defense in peace and war.