The two crews integrated well and a high level of mutual respect was created between the Fort Rosalie and the Matthew Perry crews. Having come together as allies, we parted as friends.

3/O (Warfare) Christopher Lowe

The vertical replenishment saw Fort Rosalie’s crew put into practice training received from the USNS Matthew Perry last month, with the slick transfer of 48 loads by Bunker Hill’s MH-60 Seahawk helicopter.

The British ship sent seven sailors to the Perry, a military sealift and dry cargo ship, to improve the RFA’s knowledge of US vertical replenishment operations, regularly carried out by US units.

“This was one of the most beneficial exercises I have participated in during my numerous deployments to the Middle East,” said Petty Officer (Supply Chain) David Hinde, one of the seven Brits who joined the Perry.

“We assisted in preparing 500 pallets of stores for despatch to the Roosevelt and Bunker Hill with personnel from Fort Rosalie also involved in flight deck operations.”

The Fort Rosalie team integrated with the US crew and were involved in a range of training from load building and movement, to a steering gear breakdown drill.

For Seaman Grade 1 Cooney, one of the highlights was training on hooking the equipment loads to the helicopters independently. Having mastered the US technique – and by gaining total proficiency – he was able to work at the required rate of one load every minute for several hours.

“The two crews integrated well and a high level of mutual respect was created between the Fort Rosalie and the Matthew Perry crews,” said 3/O (Warfare) Christopher Lowe. “Having come together as allies, we parted as friends.”      

A team from the Perry, led by their cargo mate, headed in the opposite direction to spend time aboard Fort Rosalie, and delivered some of US kit which is key to operating with an American carrier group.

Fort Rosalie’s solid support team trained in US vertical replenishment procedures, working closely with their US crews by making up equipment loads and attaching them to the helicopters.