USNS VADM K.R. Wheeler delivers supplies to Northern Mariana Islands
SAIPAN, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (April 1, 2015) – A United States Naval Ship assisted Northern Mariana Islands residents during a recent visit.
USNS Vice Adm. K.R. Wheeler (T-AG 5001) transported food, medical supplies and building materials to the Northern Mariana Islands including Pagan March 16-19. In addition, crew members repaired two antennas damaged during a storm.
The visit came about because of a March 3 lunch between Northern Mariana Islands Mayor Jerome K. Aldan, mayoral staff member Lorraine F. Castro and the ship’s Master, Capt. John Masnfield, hosted aboard the ship.
Because Wheeler can operate in shallow water and has small craft that are organic to the ship, the mayor requested assistance. On March 13, Wheeler loaded up with various supplies and headed north. Wheeler’s assistance to the Northern Mariana Islands highlights one of the many benefits provided Military Prepositioning Squadron Three ships.
Wheeler is a one-of-a-kind vessel. It has an offshore petroleum distribution system that can pump fuel or water up to eight miles from ship to shore to supply military or humanitarian assistance and disaster relief missions. The 348-foot long and 70-foot wide ship’s large propellers and thrusters allow it to maintain a precise location in the water via a computer-controlled system known as Dynamic Positioning.
Wheeler is also engineered to provide assistance as it can tow other ships up to 1000 feet. It is one of the eight Military Prepositioning Ships Squadron ships that frequent the anchorages off Saipan.