Jacksonville, FL - The Navy’s newest ship is stopping through Naval Station Mayport Thursday for inspection.
The USNS Spearhead is homeported in Virginia, although it will likely be assigned missions with the Fourth Fleet in the future, meaning the Fleet Commander, Rear Admiral Sinclair Harris, needs to inspect the ship. The Fourth Fleet is headquarted in Mayport.
For the base, it’s exciting to see the advances with this catamaran high speed vessel.
“The Spearhead is one of a kind, brand new, state of the art,” says Lieutenant Commander Corey Barker.
It’s an all aluminum ship and more maneuverable than some others, which Barker says gives the Fleet better reach in ports around the area of responsibility. Despite these traits, one of the most interesting aspects of the ship may actually be its crew.
“It’s an all civilian crew. There are no sailors on this ship,” Barker says.
The civilian crew is cheaper to maintain. It’s not uncommon to have this type of crew- Barker estimates 30 to 40 ships have mostly civilian crews. The savings do become significant, however, with deep budget cuts looming just about two weeks away and all cost saving measures on the table.