Maritime prepositioning ship

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USNS PFC Dewayne T. Williams, USNS Dahl, and USNS Maj. Stephen W. Pless anchored off the coast of Saipan in June 2011

The 31 maritime prepositioning ships (MPS) are part of the United States Military Sealift Command's (MSC) Prepositioning Program. They are strategically positioned around the globe to support the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Defense Logistics Agency. Most are named after Medal of Honor recipients from the service they support.[1][2][3] The MPS ships are assigned to three maritime prepositioning ship squadrons located in the Mediterranean, the Indian Ocean at Diego Garcia and the Western Pacific Ocean at Guam and Saipan. The MPS ships in each squadron have sufficient equipment, supplies and ammunition to support a Marine Air-Ground Task Force for 30 days. The MPS ships are self-sustaining, with cranes to unload at sea or pierside.

MSC chartered the first two ship classes in the MPS role (the Corporal Louis J. Hauge, Jr. and Sergeant Matej Kocak classes) from civilian shipping lines and converted them. Later ships were purpose-built.


Sergeant Matej Kocak Class[edit]

PFC. Eugene A. Obregon

The Sergeant Matej Kocak Class, the second class of MPS ships chartered by MSC, also gained 157 feet (48 m) amidships and a helicopter deck after conversion. These ships, delivered to MSC in the mid-1980s, built at Sun Shipbuilding & Drydock Co., Chester, Pennsylvania and converted at National Steel and Shipbuilding Company, San Diego. They were previously owned by Waterman Steamship Corporation but recently sold to MSC and now operated by Keystone Shipping Co.

2nd Lieutenant John P. Bobo Class[edit]

The 2nd Lieutenant John P. Bobo Class ships are new construction ships delivered to MSC in the mid-1980s from General Dynamics Quincy Shipbuilding Division, Quincy, Mass. They were owned by American Overseas Marine (AMSEA) but have been recently sold to MSC and are now operated by Maersk Line, Limited.

Capt Steven L. Bennett Class[edit]

SSG Edward A. Carter, Jr. Class[edit]

Buffalo Soldier Class[edit]

  • Length: 670 feet (200 m)
  • Beam: 87 feet (27 m)
  • Draft: 34 feet (10 m), six inches
  • Displacement: 26,378 long tons
  • Speed: 16 knots
  • Civilian: 21 contract mariners

Maj. Bernard F. Fisher Class[edit]

1st Lt. Harry L. Martin Class[edit]

LCPL Roy M. Wheat Class[edit]

  • Length: 863 feet 2 inches
  • Beam: 98 feet 5 inches
  • Draft: 35 feet (11 m)
  • Displacement: 50,570 long tons
  • Speed: 20.5 knots
  • Civilian: 29 contract mariners

LTC John U. D. Page Class[edit]

  • Length: 949.8 feet (289.5 m)
  • Beam: 105.9 feet (32.3 m)
  • Draft: 35 feet (11 m)
  • Displacement: 74,500 long tons
  • Speed: 18 knots
  • Civilian: 20 contract mariners

High Speed Vessels[edit]

HSV 2 Class[edit]

  • Length: 331 feet 4 inches
  • Beam: 87 feet 5 inches
  • Draft: 11 feet (3.4 m)
  • Displacement: 1,463.6 short tons
  • Speed: 35 knots
  • Civilian: 17 contract mariners
  • Military: as required by mission

Westpac Express Class[edit]

  • Length: 331 feet (101 m)
  • Beam: 87 feet (27 m)
  • Draft: 14 feet (4.3 m)
  • Displacement: NOTE: 32,000 square feet (3,000 m2) of cargo capacity, designed for roll-on/roll-off
  • Speed: 33 knots
  • Civilian: 14 contract mariners

Large, Medium-Speed Roll-on/Roll-off Ships[edit]

Watson Class[edit]

The Watson Class are a class of LMSR built at National Steel and Shipbuilding Company in San Diego


Offshore Petroleum Distribution System[edit]

  • Length: 348.5 feet (106.2 m)
  • Beam: 70 feet (21 m)
  • Draft: 26.0 feet (7.9 m)
  • Displacement:
  • Speed: 15 knots
  • Civilian: 26 contract mariners

Activated Ready Reserve Fleet Ships[edit]

The following are part of the National Defense Reserve Fleet but have been activated and are pre-positioned.

Modular Cargo Delivery System Ship[edit]

  • Length: 565 feet (172 m)
  • Beam: 76 feet (23 m)
  • Draft: 31 feet (9.4 m)
  • Displacement: 22,929 long tons
  • Speed: 17.0 knots
  • Civilian: 38 contract mariners

Wright Class[edit]

Dedicated to USMC aviation logistics support.

Former Ships[edit]

Corporal Louis J. Hauge, Jr. class[edit]

The Corporal Louis J. Hauge, Jr. Class is the original class of MPS ships chartered by Military Sealift Command. The five ships are Maersk Line ships converted by Bethlehem Steel. During conversion, the ships gained an additional 157 feet (48 m) amidships and a helicopter landing pad, among other things. They have since been returned to Maersk for commercial use and are no longer part of the MPS program.

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]


  1. ^ "Military Sealift Command Ship Inventory". United States Navy Military Sealift Command. Retrieved 2012-03-02. 
  2. ^ Chilcoat, BGen Robert A.; Henderson, Maj David S. (Spring 1994). "Army Prepositioning Afloat" (PDF). Joint Force Quarterly (Washington, D.C.: National Defense University): 51–57. Retrieved 2012-03-02. 
  3. ^ "Army Prepositioned Stock (APS-3)". Retrieved 2012-03-02.