An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Page Header Image

75th Anniversary
Military Sealift Command: 75 Years of Maritime Excellence

Enter Title

Military Sealift Command: 75 Years of Maritime Excellence



During World War II, four separate government agencies controlled sea transportation. In 1949, the Military Sea Transportation Service became the single managing agency for the Department of Defense’s ocean transportation needs. The command assumed responsibility for providing sealift and ocean transportation for all military services as well as for other government agencies.

Only nine months after its creation, MSTS responded to the challenge of the Korean War. On July 6, 1950, only 11 days after the initial invasion of South Korea by communist North Korean troops, MSTS transported the 24th Infantry Division and its equipment from Japan to Pusan, South Korea, for duty.

During the Vietnam War, MSTS was renamed Military Sealift Command (MSC). Between 1965 and 1969, MSC transported nearly 54 million tons of combat equipment and supplies and nearly 8 million tons of fuel to Vietnam. MSC ships also transported troops to Vietnam. The Vietnam era marked the last use of MSC troop ships.

Through the 1970s and 1980s, MSC provided the Department of Defense with ocean transportation in support of U.S. deterrent efforts during the Cold War years.

Also during the 1980s, MSC began operating pre-positioning ships worldwide, first for the Navy and Marine Corps, and later for the Air Force and U.S. Army prepositioning programs.

During the first Persian Gulf War starting in 1991 for Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, MSC distinguished itself as the largest source of defense transportation of any nation involved. MSC ships delivered more than 12 million tons of wheeled and tracked vehicles, helicopters, ammunition, dry cargo, fuel and other supplies and equipment during the war. At the height of the war, MSC managed more than 230 government-owned and chartered ships.

Since Sept. 11, 2001, MSC ships have played a vital and continuing role in contingency operations around the world, delivering combat equipment and supplies to U.S. and coalition forces that operated in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In March of 2003 on the heaviest day of delivering combat gear to Kuwait for Operation Iraqi Freedom, MSC operated 167 ships that stretched from the U.S. East and Gulf Coasts to Kuwait, the equivalent to one ship every 50 miles, a constant stream of combat material, supplies, vehicles and helicopters delivered to U.S. forces in the Middle East.

Throughout its existence, the MSC combat logistics force has continued to provide fuel, ordnance, food, parts, and supplies via underway replenishment to carrier strike groups and amphibious ready groups, independent deployers and ships from allied and partner nations.

Heading into the new century, MSC began operating new classes of vessels to support U.S. Navy requirements. These new vessels included an afloat forward staging base, expeditionary fast transports, expeditionary sea bases and transfer docks, and a sea-based radar platform.

For 75 years, MSC has provided agile logistics, strategic sealift and specialized missions to the Department of Defense. 

United We Sail so that Together We Deliver!


MSC 75th Anniversary

Text/HTML  |  |  Navy FOIA  |  DoD Accessibility/Section 508  |  No Fear Act  |  Open Government  |  Plain Writing Act 
Architectural Barriers Act  |  |  Veterans Crisis Line  |  VA Vet Center  |  fvap  |  DoD Safe Helpline  |  Navy SAPR  |  NCIS Tips  | 
Ombudsman POC  |  Sponsor Coordinator POC 757-341-6645  |  Privacy Policy  |  Site Map  |  Contact Webmaster 
Military Sealift Command  |  471 East C Street, Bldg. SP-48  |   Norfolk, Virginia 23511-2419
Official U.S. Navy Website