United States Naval Ship

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The USNS Comfort (T-AH-20), pictured here on September 15, 2001, is an example of a United States Naval Ship.

United States Naval Ship or USNS is the prefix designation given to non-commissioned ships that are property of the United States Navy.[1]


United States Naval Ships are usually auxiliary support vessels owned by the U.S. Navy and operated by Military Sealift Command.[2] They are crewed by civilian mariners rather than U.S. Navy personnel, although some ships include a small military complement to carry out communication and special mission functions, or for force protection.[3] In comparison, U.S. Navy ships commissioned into service have the designation USS and are crewed by U.S. Navy personnel; commissioned and held in property by the United States Government.[4] A few Navy ships have hybrid crews of both uniformed Navy personnel and Civil Service Mariners; these ships are usually designated USNS, but can also be designated USS as in the case with Submarine Tenders and Command Ships.[2][5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Joint Publication 1-02 Department of Defense Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms". Defense Technical Information Center. 8 November 2010. Retrieved 4 July 2012. 
  2. ^ a b "DOD Dictionary : United States Naval Ship". Defense Technical Information Center. 2012. Retrieved 4 July 2012. 
  3. ^ "Military Sealift Command: People". Military Sealift Command. 2014. Retrieved 6 November 2014. 
  4. ^ "USN Ship Naming". Naval History & Heritage Command. 29 September 1997. Retrieved 12 March 2009. 
  5. ^ USS Frank Cable: A Navy team effort for U.S. 7th Fleet