USNS Wheat Crew Donates to Fund Backing Marines, Sailors

September 2010

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Crew members of the prepositioning ship USNS LCPL Roy M. Wheat recently decided to help those they work with by donating thousands of dollars to a fund that assists Marines and Sailors wounded in action.


The Wheat is operated by Keystone Prepositioning Services, Inc. and crewed in the unlicensed positions by SIU members. The cargo ship sails exclusively for the Marine Corps and is typically deployed in the Eastern Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea carrying food, fuel, tanks and a range of other equipment and supplies ready for rapid delivery to Marines ashore if needed.


According to the U.S. Military Sealift Command (MSC), the civilian crew and officers and other civilian contractors working aboard the Wheat donated $8,575 to a charitable organization called “Semper Fi” – a nonprofit entity that provides financial assistance and support to Marines and Sailors injured in the line of duty after Sept. 11, 2001, and their families.


“Everyone personally contributed at least $100 to the fund,” said Wheat Electrician Jess Cooper. “We did it because we wanted to help those who protect America. We work with these folks day in and day out and we each sacrifice together. It’s a good ship and a good mission and our donation surely went to a good cause.”


Wheat is a special ship, and there is a special bond between the crew and the Marine Corps,” said Capt. John Mattfeld, the ship’s civilian master. “This donation is to show support for our troops fighting overseas and to demonstrate our gratitude for their service.”


MSC in late July reported that members of the Wheat’s crew and contract maintenance department personally donated $2,175 to the fund. The crew also gave an additional $1,225 from the ship’s welfare and recreation fund that could have been used to purchase entertainment equipment on board, and also contributed the money from a $3,000 bonus which was awarded by Keystone for the three years the Wheat went without a pollution incident. The company also donated an additional $2,175.


“Their gracious decision to donate these funds to help wounded service members and their families is not only indicative of their professionalism and dedication, but is also very much in line with the spirit of their ship’s namesake Lance Cpl. Roy Wheat,” said Marine Corps Col. Steven Peters, commander, Marine Corps Support Facility Blount Island in Jacksonville, Fla., where the Wheat recently was slated to return to reserve status while the Marine Corps conducts maintenance on its equipment. The checks were symbolically presented to Peters in a small ceremony July 27.


The agency further noted that the Wheat’s crew members have donated their wages to the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund in previous years, most recently in 2007. The SIU crews of prepositioning ships USNS 1ST LT Harry L. Martin and USNS 1ST LT Jack Lummus have also made similar contributions.


SIU members sailing aboard the Wheat when the ceremony took place included Bosun William Lima, ABs Harvey Carvajal, Eric Morieira, Brooke English, Matthew Jesmer and Glenn Davis, Electricians Jess Cooper and Mark Marler, QMEDs Kevin Johnson and DeShanna Sherrod, Oilers Ernesto Acosta and Gerard Dunn, Storekeeper Renee Clayton, Chief Steward Clark Williams, Chief Cook Alexander Alyxi, GSU Jermaine Williams and GVAs Reina Mendez and Anthony Newbill.


The Wheat is named in honor of Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Roy M. Wheat, who died in 1967 during the Vietnam War and was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for sacrificing himself to save the lives of three other Marines.

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