The expeditionary fast transport vessel USNS Brunswick arrives at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek in Fort Story, Va., on Feb. 3, 2024.

The expeditionary fast transport vessel USNS Brunswick arrives at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek in Fort Story, Va., on Feb. 3, 2024. (LaShawn Sykes/U.S. Navy)

The USNS Brunswick cruised into Chesapeake Bay last week, concluding more than seven years of Pacific operations, including the first circumnavigation of the world by an expeditionary fast transport, according to the Navy.

Previously based on Saipan in the Northern Mariana Islands, the vessel arrived Saturday at its new home port, Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek in Fort Story, Va., Military Sealift Command announced in a news release Tuesday.

The Brunswick’s arrival marked the culmination of a seven-year deployment that began when it left Little Creek in January 2017.

Since then, the 338-foot-long transport has traveled more than 21,600 nautical miles and circumnavigated the globe.

During its Pacific deployment, the ship participated in numerous large-scale operations, including: Operation Triggerfish in Micronesia; Noble Jaguar and Resolute Dragon in Japan; Talisman Sabre in Australia; and region-wide exercises like Pacific Partnership and Valiant Shield.

Last year, it was one of at least three Navy ships positioned off the coast of Sudan to help evacuate American citizens caught in the North African country’s civil war that broke out in April 2023. The Brunswick evacuated 300 people, including American citizens, to Saudi Arabia. It was part of a larger effort to evacuate foreign nationals from the war-torn country.

The ship’s performance throughout the deployment was “rock-solid” and helped to “foster trust and cooperation with partner nations,” the command said.

In May 2015, the Brunswick became the sixth joint high-speed vessel launched from Australian shipmaker Austal USA’s yard in Mobile, Ala. It was part of a $1.6 billion Navy contract for 10 vessels, according to the company’s website.

The Brunswick is part of a ship class designed to provide “high speed, shallow draft transportation” capabilities to include personnel, supplies and equipment, according to the Naval Sea Systems Command website.

The Brunswick can average 35 knots, has a flight deck large enough for a CH-53 Super Stallion helicopter and can operate at austere port facilities, according to Austal.

The ship is built for speed and can support operations including humanitarian relief missions, logistics support and larger global operations, according to the command’s news release.

It can also “bridge the gap” between airlifts and standard sealift transportation, the command said. Airlifts are fast but suffer from low capacity, while sealifts can shuttle much more cargo at much slower speeds.

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Alex Wilson covers the U.S. Navy and other services from Yokosuka Naval Base, Japan. Originally from Knoxville, Tenn., he holds a journalism degree from the University of North Florida. He previously covered crime and the military in Key West, Fla., and business in Jacksonville, Fla.

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