Navy Capt. Charles “Gene” Emmert relieved Navy Capt. Wesley Brown as commander of Military Sealift Command’s Indian Ocean-based Maritime Prepositioning Ship Squadron Two today. Emmert, the squadron’s 27th commander, accepted command during a ceremony on board MSC Maritime Prepositioning Force ship USNS SGT William R. Button in Diego Garcia’s lagoon.
The commander of MPS Squadron Two has a staff of 10 active duty sailors and is responsible for the tactical control and readiness of the squadron’s current fleet of 12 government-owned and -chartered noncombatant cargo carriers. Most of these ships are currently forward deployed to the Indian Ocean carrying military equipment and supplies for rapid delivery to U.S. forces ashore in case of a humanitarian operation or other contingency.
The ships are crewed by civilian mariners working for private shipping companies under contract to MSC.
“I am honored to be engaging in a time-honored joint venture working with our merchant mariners to support any mission that comes our way,” said Emmert. “Let the journey begin.”
Emmert’s most recent assignment was at the U.S. Mission to NATO in Brussels, Belgium, where he served as Navy armaments cooperation officer and deputy national armaments director representative. Emmert’s distinguished service also includes command of amphibious transport dock ship USS Duluth; a staff assignment for the Joint Staff in the command, control, communications and computer systems directorate and as missile early warning officer at U.S.
PHOTO CAPTION: USNS SGT William R. Button
“Both Captains Emmert and Brown have impeccable reputations and are tremendous assets to MSC and the Navy,” said Navy Capt. Charles “Chip” Denman, commander of Singapore-based MSC Far East, who commands all MSC ships in the Western Pacific and Indian Ocean.
Brown, who took command of MPS Squadron Two in October 2010, received the Legion of Merit in recognition of his outstanding leadership and management of the squadron’s ships that optimized mission readiness, reduced engineering costs and strengthened relationships with key foreign military officials in the area.
Brown reports next as Commander, Naval Beach Group Two at Naval Amphibious Base, Little Creek, Va. “The most memorable aspect of my year at MPS Squadron Two was working with the dedicated and professional men and women of my staff,” Brown said.
The civilian masters of Maritime Prepositioning Force ships USNS SGT Matej Kocak, USNS GYSGT Fred W. Stockham, USNS Seay, MV SSG Edward A. Carter, Jr., USNS Pomeroy, MV CAPT Steven L. Bennett, MV LTC John U.D. Page and Button attended the ceremony held on Button’s bridge. Button is the squadron flagship.
MSC operates approximately 110 noncombatant, U.S. merchant mariner-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.