NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — After a 15-year forward deployment in San Diego, USNS Walter S. Diehl will shift its homeport to Naval Station Norfolk on Sunday.

The replenishment oiler will be bringing 89 civil service mariners, 42 of whom are from the Hampton Roads region. USNS Walter S. Diehl’s Western Pacific deployment began February 24, 2005, in support of military operations throughout the 2nd, 5th, 6th, and 7th Fleets.

Captain Andrew Chen

“Steaming 997,495 nautical miles to participate in 389 voyages, Diehl traversed more than half the globe providing critical logistics support to the U.S. Navy and partner nations in Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Italy, Turkey, India, Pakistan, Germany, France, Canada, United Kingdom, Denmark, and Spain,” said Captain Andrew Chen.

Chen is the 11th master to serve aboard Diehl during the ship’s 15-year forward deployment. 

“Supporting numerous U.S. and Coalition ships, the oiler executed 74 underway replenishments and transferred 20 million gallons of fuel and 1,550 pallets of cargo with high precision,” he continued.

Chen said the crew of civil service mariners “performed admirably” during the deployment “across three-quarters of the world, providing world-class combat logistic service despite the restrictions placed on the ship and crew due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.”

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