Dozens of civilian mariners deploy on oiler USNS Joshua Humphreys

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NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — The U.S. Navy replenishment oiler USNS Joshua Humphreys left from Naval Station Norfolk Monday morning, marking the start of a five-month deployment.

“We’re like the 7-11 of the fleet we bring them groceries, fuel, bombs, ice cream, mail and repair parts,” explained chief engineer, Clifford Bard.

Aboard the Humphreys are 67 civilian mariners who’ve been preparing for this day for months. There’s a lot of new hires for this deployment and for many of them this will be their first time overseas, Bard said.

Bard said the Humphreys came back in 2016 from the Persian Gulf — and years later they’ve done a lot to bring the ship back up to standards.

The Humphreys is heading to the Navy’s 6th Fleet, which covers half of the Altantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea.

According to the Navy, ships like the Humphreys are the supply line for surface combatant ships and provide fuel that allows fleets to “remain at sea and combat ready for extended periods of time”

“We have no weapons except a couple of small shot guns and stuff for air force protection. But other than that, we’re on our own,” Bard said.

Bard said they are expected back at the beginning of December.

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