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Transportation Secretary praises strategic sealift.

The Ready Reserve Force, which supported Operation Desert Storm, stands ready to aid America's War on Terrorism.

That was the message of Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta in a speech commemorating the 25th anniversary of the reserve fleet.

"The Ready Reserve Force remains ever at the ready to support rapid, massive movement of military supplies and troops anywhere in the world," said Mineta, at a ceremony in Baltimore aboard the M/V Cape Wrath.

"This readiness would not be possible without the support of a strong public-private partnership between government, industry and labor."

The Maritime Administration, under the U.S. Department of Transportation, maintains a current force of 76 standby ships. The Administration was created in 1976 to meet surge-shipping requirements for the Department of Defense.

Speakers at the Oct. 18 ceremony praised the government-industry-labor partnership that supports the Ready Reserve Force.

"The Ready Reserve Force is a high-value sealift capability," said Rear Adm. David Brewer, Commander, Military Sealift Command.

"It helps us meet our rapid response needs."

Ultimately responsible for Department of Defense transportation efforts, U.S. Transportation Command relies heavily of the fleet's capability.

"The success of the Ready Reserve Force rests squarely on the shoulders of the Maritime Administration," said Rear Admiral Ed Fahy, Transportation Command's Director of Plans and Policy.

"Using the best practices of the commercial shipping industry, the employees of the Ready Reserve Force are ready to meet the needs of Department of Defense sealift requirements," said Fahy.

Ready Reserve Force vessels were a key part of Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, employing 72 of its ships in the effort between 1990 to 1991.

"We pushed a steel bridge to the Middle East," said Brewer. "We must never, ever burn that bridge."

Originally scheduled for Sept. 14, the commemoration was rescheduled because of the terrorist incidents of Sept. 11, said Acting Deputy Maritime Administrator Bruce Carlton.
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Title Annotation:Norman Mineta; Ready Reserve Force
Author:Dees, Don
Publication:Translog
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 1, 2002
Words:313
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