USMC Floating Warehouse


05/22/2011 A Marine Corps “floating warehouse” making  a stop in the Arabian Gulf to showcase the capabilities of the Marine Corps Maritime Prepositioning Force.

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Credit: Marine Corps Forces Central Command


The USNS Sgt. Matej Kocak, one of the 31 ships that make up the Military Sealift Command’s prepositioning program, recently pulled into port in Bahrain. “The prepositioning force provides to the Marine Corps the capability to respond in short order, bringing large capacity,” said Navy Capt. Fred Harr, captain of the Kocak. “The capability of these ships cannot be duplicated by airlift.”

The Kocak carries everything 15,000 Marines would need for 30 days of combat operations. The ship’s three levels of storage decks house Humvees, tanks, howitzers and a multitude of other equipment and vehicles. Rows of shipping containers topside carry smaller necessities such as food, water and communications gear. The ship, like all ships in the squadron, can set sail for any part of the world with as little as 24 hours notice.

Harr referenced Naval training publications that estimate it would take more than 200 C-5 sorties or more than 300 C-17 sorties to carry the combat cargo load stowed away on the average Martime Prepositioning Ship, not to mention the additional 300-plus airlift sorties required to bring in the Marine Air Ground Task Force and Naval Support Element personnel required at arrival and assembly areas.

For this reason and others, the prepositioning force, along with amphibious warships are integral to the success of the Corps’ rapid response and self-sustainment capabilities, according the Marine Corps doctrine.

The advent of the MPF in the mid -1980’s significantly reduced the time required to get a Marine Expeditionary Force mission capable in a combat operation – from about one month to one week. Ships like the Kocak also made it possible to marry up Marines and their equipment without the convenience of an established port.

  • The first photo shows Squadron-mate to the USNS Sgt. Matej Kocak, the USNS 1st Lt. Baldomero Lopez pulling into a port in the Persian Gulf alongside the Kocak.
  • The second photo shows the USNS Sgt. Matekj Kocak.
  • The third and fourth photos show the below deck storage for  the “floating warehouse.” In the depths of the ship, rows of amphibious assault vehicles stand ready for employment by Marines. Mechanics in the ship’s crew maintain the vehicles while the ship is at sea ensuring they are ready to support emergent operations and training exercise.
  • The fourth photo shows rows of land movers and other construction vehicles line a deck of the USNS Kocak. The Kocak, a ship from the maritime prepositioning force, carries an ensemble of vehicles, equipment and supplies essential to Marine Corps expeditionary operations.
  • The final photo shows rows of shipping containers, known as “cans,” line the deck of the USNS Kocak. The USNS Kocak and its squadron-mate, the USNS Lopez, can deliver within a matter of days, everything 15,000 Marines would need for 30 days of combat operations.