USS Sylvania

Our reunion group is open for
"All Hands" of the 
USS Sylvania from 1964 to 1994, including all helicopter groups - HC-6, Det. 97 and the WW II USS Sylvania (AKA-44).

  John D. Pierce
3093 Kissing Rock SE Lowell , MI 49331
Home Phone
(616) 897-5178
Cell Phone
(517) 927-3312

Other web pages of interest are:


You are now on board one of the most versatile ships in the United States Navy.  The USS SYLVANIA(AFS-2) is the second Combat Stores Ship of the Mars Class to be built. The most advanced and effective cargo handling, transfer and engineering equipment has been incorporated into this ship.  With her crew of highly dedicated professionals, SYLVANIA is capable of sustaining the most efficient underway replenishment missions in the world to this date.  This ship is truly representative of the modem Navy. It is with great pleasure and pride that the crew of the "Vigilant Provider" welcomes you aboard. We hope your tour will be informative, enjoyable and inspiring.

AFSno1.jpg (11133 bytes)  AFSno2.jpg (9484 bytes)  AFSno3.jpg (17064 bytes)  


USS SYLVANIA was built by the National Steel and Shipbuilding Company of San Diego, California, and was commissioned 11 July 1964 in Long Beach, California. USS SYLVANIA was named for communities in Georgia and Ohio. From 25 April 1965 until 30 September 1969, USS SYLVANIA was homeported in Naples, Italy, and assigned to the SIXTH Fleet. The ship was tasked with regular monthly resupply missions in the Mediterranean. Since changing its homeport to Norfolk, USS SYLVANIA has deployed to the Mediterranean numerous times. In September 1976, returning from a routine deployment, USS SYLVANIA had the honor of transporting the world famous King Tut Exhibit to America for the New York Metropolitan Museum.  

USS SYLVANIA has earned numerous awards and commendations, including the following citations: three awards of the Battle Efficiency "E", the Navy Unit Commendation for Desert Storm, the Navy Expeditionary Medal for her participation in Sixth Fleet peacekeeping efforts in Lebanon in 1983, two awards of the National Defense Service
Medal, and two Meritorious Unit Commendations. USS SYLVANIA replenished three aircraft carrier battle groups in the Red Sea during Operation Desert Storm. She set replenishment records for the AFS class ship; including 177 customers served, 19,384 pallets transferred (20,500 tons of supplies) and 53,000 supply requisitions processed. SYLVANIA completed an 86-day Mediterranean Deployment on 15 June 1992. She continued the record setting pace of Desert Storm by resupplying 72 ships during her 60 days on-station with the Sixth Fleet. Most recently, SYLVANIA deployed to Miami, Florida in support of Hurricane Andrew relief operations. The SYLVANIA/HC-8, Det 3 Team delivered more than 4 million pounds of food and relief supplies.

AFSno4.jpg (7596 bytes)  AFSno5.jpg (22042 bytes)  AFSno6.jpg (18550 bytes)

To keep up with the increasing improvements and needs of today's fast naval task forces, the Navy has expanded the capabilities of its movable logistic support forces to include the use of helicopters in vertical replenishment (VERTREP) as a normal resupply method. This concept of resupply of ships at sea, although not entirely new, has in the past been limited to the use of helicopters normally carried by aircraft carriers and other large ships. Now it has been incorporated with the conventional methods of alongside cargo transfer from supply ships to speed up the underway operation. Playing an important role in the story of vertical replenishment is the UH-46A. One of the first tests of the UH46A's capabilities in ship-to-ship transfer was made when surface-to-air missiles were transferred during exercises at sea off Norfolk, Va., in November 1964. With a cruising speed of 150 mph and a range of 300 miles, the UH-46A helicopter can carry out the major resupply of all types of ships by VERTREP. The ships are
required to come alongside only if the transfer of fuel oil is necessary. A month after the Norfolk exercise, in December 1964, two UH-46A Sea Knight helicopters were placed aboard the new combat stores ship.   USS Mars (AFS 1). This can be marked as the date when helicopters designed for full-scale vertical replenishment operations were activated in the U. S. Seventh Fleet. Ten months later two UH-46A helicopters of Helicopter Combat Support Squadron One, Detachment 49, began operating aboard the Navy's first fast combat support ship USS Sacramento (AOE 1). Both ships, units of the Pacific Service Force, are deployed in the western Pacific, operating in support of the Seventh Fleet. The medium utility, twin-turbine helicopters are identical to the CH-46A medium assault helicopters used by the Marine Corps for vertical envelopment assault operations. The primary aim of the Navy's new vertical replenishment program is to reduce alongside underway replenishment time, thus allowing combatant ships to remain for longer periods of time in their regular position in the task force formation, ready for action. This has been substantially demonstrated through the multi-product delivery capability of Sacramento, a combination Fleet boiler, ammunition and provisions ship, while serving as flagship of the Mobile Logistic Support Group Commander (CTG 73.5) during recent operations in the South China Sea. While ships are alongside, Sacramento's two helicopters can continue to relay provisions and ammunition to them. The VERTREP complements the transfer of ammunition by highline and reduces the over-ail time alongside, allowing the ship more time for tactical maneuvers. In most instances a VERTREP trip to a carrier alongside Sacramento can be completed in one to two hours.
An article from ALL HANDS.

AFSno7.jpg (9420 bytes)  AFSno8.jpg (8476 bytes)