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Military Sealift Command Hosts Change of Command

Rear Adm. T.K. Shannon Relieves Rear Adm. Mark Buzby

Published May 13, 2013 3:27 PM by The Maritime Executive

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – Rear Adm. T.K. Shannon relieved Rear Adm. Mark Buzby as commander, Military Sealift Command, during a change of command ceremony aboard USNS Spearhead (JHSV 1), May 10.

Buzby, who assumed command of MSC Oct. 16, 2009, ensured ready logistics support for carrier strike groups, expeditionary strike groups and ground force commanders operating forward every day.

While under Buzby’s command, MSC ships delivered services, supplies and equipment to all branches of the U.S. military and their combatant commanders around the world, including support to Operations Iraqi Freedom, Enduring Freedom, Unified Response in Haiti (2010) and Tomodachi in Japan (2011). He also led the command through a worldwide reorganization, “One MSC,” that streamlined operations, eliminated duplication and improved efficiency – ultimately saving the Navy millions in personnel costs over the next 10 years.

Under his command, MSC supported the successful planning and conversion of USS Ponce (LPD 15) to an interim afloat forward staging base in 2012 and accepted delivery of the remaining T-AKE class, a new missile range instrumentation vessel (USNS Howard O. Lorenzen) and the first-ever joint high-speed vessel (USNS Spearhead) on-time and on-budget.

“It’s been an honor and privilege of a lifetime to serve as the Commander of MSC and represent this team of Sailors, Civilian Mariners, and shore-based civil servants who are truly the lifeline of support for our Navy and military worldwide,” said Buzby.

Gen. William M. Fraser III, commander, U.S. Transportation Command and Adm. William Gortney, commander, U.S. Fleet Forces, are the guest speakers.

A graduate of Maine Maritime Academy, Shannon assumes command of MSC following his last tour of duty as the commander of Carrier Strike Group One in San Diego, Calif.

His at sea assignments include tours aboard USS Jack Williams (FFG 24), USS Nicholson (DD 982) and USS Boone (FFG 28). His afloat staff duty includes chief staff officer in Destroyer Squadron 14 and surface operations officer in Cruiser Destroyer Group 12. He was also commanding officer of USS De Wert (FFG 45), commanding officer of USS Vicksburg (CG 69) and air defense commander for the John F. Kennedy Battle Group.

Shannon took command of Carrier Strike Group One in November 2011 and led the strike group through a successful Western Pacific and Arabian Gulf deployment, during which the strike group supported coalition forces in Afghanistan in the 5th Fleet area of operations and participated in Exercise Malabar 2012 with the Indian Navy in the 7th Fleet AOR. While under Shannon's command, CSG-1 also became the first strike group to participate in the Oceania Maritime Security Initiative, a maritime law enforcement operation within the Oceania's exclusive economic zone.

MSC operates approximately 110 non-combatant, civilian-crewed ships that replenish U.S. Navy ships, conduct specialized missions, strategically preposition combat cargo at sea around the world and move military cargo and supplies used by deployed U.S. forces and coalition partners.

About the Ship

Built in Mobile, Ala., by Austal U.S.A., USNS Spearhead is designed for rapid, intra-theater transport of troops and military equipment. The U.S. Navy’s Military Sealift Command owns and operates Spearhead, along with the nine other JHSVs that are currently under contract. Spearhead is a 338-foot-long aluminum catamaran designed for speed, flexibility and maneuverability. The reconfigurable 20,000-square-foot mission bay area can be quickly adapted to support a number of different missions – anything from carrying containerized portable hospitals to support disaster relief to transporting tanks and troops. Spearhead’s crew of 22 civil service mariners works for MSC which operates, navigates and maintains the ship. JHSVs are capable of transporting approximately 600 tons of military troops, vehicles, supplies and equipment 1,200 nautical miles at an average speed of 35 knots, and are designed to operate in austere ports and waterways, providing added flexibility to U.S. warfighters worldwide.