Operation FORAGER, the Marianas Campaign
On 12 May 1944, Admiral R.A. Spruance, commanding the Fifth Fleet, as Commander Central Pacific Task Forces, issued his operation plan for the capture, occupation, and defense of Saipan, Tinian, and Guam; the development of airfields on these islands; and the gaining of control of the remaining Marianas in order to operate long-range aircraft against Japan, secure control of the Central Pacific, and isolate and neutralize the central Carolines. This operation was named FORAGER. D-day, 15 June, was when initial landings were made on Saipan; W-day was the date for the Guam landings, and J-day for Tinian.
Floating Logistic Facilities--Servicing the Staging Amphibious Forces--Replenishment of Fast Carriers
With 14 battleships, old and new, 25 carriers and carrier escorts, 26 cruisers, and 144 destroyers, the major task forces and groups were commanded by Vice Admirals Turner and Mitscher, Rear Admirals Hill, Conolly, Blandy, Clark, Montgomery, Reeves, Harrill, and Hoover, the expeditionary troops by Lieutenant General H.M. Smith, USMC, and the shore-based air force for the forward area by Major General Hale of the Army. Every type ship except submarine was represented in the huge fleet, which numbered 634 vessels, but did not include those vessels assigned to Commodore W.R. Carter, Commanding Service Squadron Ten; to Captain Leon Fiske, Commander Service Squadron Twelve; and the ships allocated to Rear Admiral Hoover as Commander Forward Area. In general it may be said that more than 600 vessels, 2,000 aircraft and an estimated 300,000 Navy, Marine, and Army personnel participated.
Fleet anchorages with facilities provided by repair ships, tenders and other auxiliaries existed at Eniwetok, Kwajalein, and Majuro atolls, and at Seeadler Harbor in the Admiralties. Admiral Spruance based his Marianas operations on the general operation plan of Admiral Nimitz as Commander in Chief Pacific, and ordered that logistic services for all forces in the Marshalls be rendered under the direction of Commander Forward Area, employing the facilities of ServRon Ten, and that the commander of that squadron, or his representative, would administer the services provided at Eniwetok, Roi anchorage, Kwajalein, and Majuro.
The Logistic Support
Some of the basic requirements of Admiral Nimitz's plan were that logistic support of fleet units be provided by himself through Commander Service Force Pacific, Commander Aircraft Pacific, and Commander South Pacific. Fleet tankers as a rule were to load to half capacity cargoes of Diesel oil and aviation gasoline, fuel oil to maximum draft, and with standard stock of drummed lubricants and compressed gases.
Before the operation, all combatant and auxiliary ships were to procure stores of ammunition, fuel, and lubricants to authorized capacity dry provisions for 120 days for ship's company and for 60 days for embarked troops; maximum capacity of fresh provisions, general stores, clothing, and ship's stores stock and medical stores, each for 120 days. Fresh and dry provisions were available in provisions stores ships, cargo vessels, and barges at Majuro, Eniwetok, Roi, and Kwajalein for forces basing on and staging through those ports. Provisions stores ships were scheduled to supply forces staging through the Marshalls area during the 10-day period just prior to D-day, 15 June. After D-day the stores ships would be found at Eniwetok, with limited supplies available also at Majuro and Kwajalein.
South Pacific Area Support. Forces and units of Fifth Fleet assembling in South Pacific areas for from 35 to 10 days before D-day in the Marianas were to be supplied provisions by Commander South Pacific in the quantities prescribed above. Ships withdrawing from the Marianas to the South Pacific were to be resupplied by Commander South Pacific 30 to 60 days after D-day. Approximately 147 vessels of different types were thus supplied. Large ships were ordered to give provisions to smaller ones as opportunity permitted. The fleet commander cautioned that rationing of provisions, particularly fresh and frozen, would probably be necessary and small vessels would be given preference in the
issues. Ships returning to supply points such as Pearl and Espiritu, were to transfer provisions, in excess of their needs for the return voyage, to other ships and shore activities, as might be practicable.
Ammunition. The ammunition carriers Mauna Loa, Lassen, Rainier, Sangay, Shasta, and Mazama supplied ammunition at Eniwetok after 15 June. Loaded barges were also available there, and 8-inch and smaller sizes and depth charges in assault shipping at the objectives as ordered by Vice Admiral Turner, Commander Joint Expeditionary Force.
Fuel (General). Vice Admiral Calhoun, Commander Service Force Pacific, was required to divert allocated commercial tankers as might be necessary to deliver approximately 1,400,000 barrels of fuel oil during each 2-week period commencing 1 June 1944. Delivery was to be distributed among such advanced bases in Central or South Pacific as the commander of the Fifth Fleet prescribed. Commodore A.H. Gray, Commander Service Squadron Eight, handled the details of the Pearl and west-coast end of this fuel business, and did a fine job with barely sufficient ships.
Fueling at Sea. For fueling at sea, fleet oiler task units composed of fleet oilers and escorts, and aircraft replacement task units composed of an escort carrier and an escort, were organized by Commander Service Force, who also assigned an officer with staff to direct and coordinate the operations of oiler and replacement task units while at sea. He was designated Commander Task Group 50.17, and embarked in a destroyer from which he directed operations to meet the fueling requirements of Mitscher's Fast Carrier Task Force 58 at sea. The oiler task group commander, Captain E.E. Paré, in addition to exercising tactical command from his flagship, the destroyer John D. Henley, took care of the consolidation of the cargoes of fleet oilers, sending back to Eniwetok for reloading such oilers as had been emptied or had been reduced to less than 20,000 barrels of black cargo oil. He also sent the group escort carrier units to Eniwetok for replacement aircraft, which had been placed there for that purpose.
Fueling Areas. Fueling areas were large rectangles 75 miles long and 25 miles wide. Eleven were prescribed for the Marianas operation, each designated the abbreviated name of some well-known oil company. Areas and dates were assigned to Vice Admiral Mitscher's Task Force 58 through D-plus-6 day, after which Mitscher informed Commander Fifth Fleet and Commander Task Group 50.17 of his further requirements. To Turner's Northern Attack Force, Task Force 52, and Conolly's Southern Attack Force, Task Force 53, areas and dates were assigned. In addition,
the large ships of Task Forces 52 and 53 fueled small ships as necessary en route to assembly points in the Marshalls, and again en route to their objectives. Facilities for port fueling in the Marshalls were furnished by Commander ServRon Ten.
Eight task units, 16.7.1 to 16.7.8, inclusive (the number 16 was a service-force designation), each composed of three oilers, with at least 2 DE's as escorts, and sometimes one destroyer and two destroyer escorts, were organized to fuel the fleet in the areas assigned.
Fuel at Bases. With minor exceptions, the forces of Vice Admiral Turner, Commander Task Force 52, and Rear Admiral Blandy, Commander Task Group 51.1, Joint Expeditionary Force Reserve, conducted their rehearsal exercises in the Hawaiian area, leaving there the last of May. The Southern Attack Force under Rear Admiral Conolly, also with minor exceptions, conducted its rehearsals in the South Pacific 22-31 May and sailed for the Marshalls. All ships had been required to fuel to capacity before departure, but more fuel was needed at staging points Eniwetok, Kwajalein, and Roi, where all three forces assembled and refueled before departing 9-12 June for their objectives. The Fast Carrier Groups 58.1-2-3 and -4 had been at Majuro early in June and left fully serviced for their strikes. The general plan of operations for these groups after D-day was to maintain three task groups in the Marianas area while one was withdrawn to Eniwetok for replenishment of fuel, provisions, aircraft, ammunition, and bombs.
Commander Service Squadron Ten (Carter) or his representative provided fueling facilities for forces staging through the Marshalls. Until 15 June commercial tankers were routed to Majuro, whence they were further diverted. After that date such tankers arriving in the Marshalls were routed to Eniwetok. Two Liberty tankers were available there, and three or more slow station tankers were to be there by 20 June. Admiral Spruance had stressed in his operation plan the importance of fuel, since our forces were destined to penetrate far into enemy territory, at greater distance from our bases than ever before.
General Stores. These were available from ServRon Ten in cargo ships, and in the concrete barge Trefoil at Majuro. After 20 June, cargo ships had them at Eniwetok.
Aircraft Replacement. Replacement aircraft were available in escort carriers, and in the vicinity of the objectives already described in fueling at sea. The unclassified ship Fortune carried aeronautical spare parts and was scheduled to be at Majuro until about 15 June, and aviation spares in limited quantities were in the South Pacific for emergency issue.
Salvage. Six fleet ocean tugs with fire-fighting personnel and equipment were on hand for towing and fire fighting, and two salvage vessels accompanied the Joint Expeditionary Force to the objectives, while two more were assigned to Service Squadron Twelve for salvage and for clearing wrecks from harbors.
Emergency Repairs. One repair ship for landing craft, the Egeria, accompanied Defense Group One; another, the Agenor, accompanied Tractor Group Three, which was so-called because it landed troops in amphibious boats equipped with tractor treads enabling them to trundle over reefs, as well as water, to dry ground. Repair ships and destroyer tenders were also in the Marshalls for emergency and battle-damage repairs by ServRon Ten.
Medical. Four hospital ships, the Relief, Solace, Bountiful, and Samaritan, were on hand for the campaign. One transport for the wounded the Rixey, was attached to TransDiv 24 (temporary) and another, the Tryon, reported to Commander Task Force 51 of the Joint Expeditionary Force about D-plus 30 day. Medical supplies were carried in general stores issue ships, and a limited number of seaplanes of Rescue Squadron One were on call for evacuation of casualties to the Marshalls.
To support the fleet at the inception of the Marianas campaign, Commodore W.R. Carter, Commander Service Squadron Ten, had a varied and considerable amount of equipment, with more promised. He had in his main body 3 destroyer tenders (one his flagship), 3 repair ships, 1 internal-combustion-engine repair ship, 5 movable floating drydocks (3 of 1,000 tons capacity, 2 of 3,000 tons), 4 ocean tugs, 3 rescue tugs, 1 limited-repair-facilities ship, 1 survey vessel, 1 barracks personnel ship, 1 high-speed minesweeper, and 1 degaussing vessel. Other floating resources included 15 oil-storage tankers, 21 fuel-oil and gasoline barges, 11 water barges, 1 salvage vessel, 3 repair, 3 freight, and 13 ammunition barges. The hotel barge Sea Hag; 2 dry provisions and Army stores issue ships; 6 concrete storage barges; 6 general barges for boat pool, mooring gear, and miscellaneous freight; 8 harbor tugs, big and little; 1 sludge-removal barge; and 6 sea-sled targets made up the contingent of 120 units afloat. This logistic force reveals the development of the war, the magnitude of the current operation, and the meticulous detailed planning essential for its success.
Service Squadron Ten Facilities
At Kwajalein, ServRon Ten's representative was Captain S.B. Ogden, who had been designated as such 17 March. He and his staff had had some experience at Funafuti, and some with small units at Kwajalein since March, but nothing comparable to the size of the job in prospect. The time allowed for services was short, so some concern was felt. There need not have been. Captain Ogden fulfilled every obligation completely, as he also did on every subsequent job.
Commodore Carter, commanding ServRon Ten, was at Majuro for administration of logistics until 3 June, when he and most of his staff left for Eniwetok in the Prairie. Before this, as fast as they could be spared from the logistic work for the fast carrier force, convoys of service units had been sent to Eniwetok, Roi, and Kwajalein to serve the Joint Expeditionary Force staging through to the Marianas. The safety of these convoys, except for the fast group comprising the Prairie and some of the faster tenders, was a matter of deep concern. If losses were suffered they would have to be borne, as no types in excess were available in the Central Pacific to furnish replacements. Even if these had been available at Pearl there would not have been time enough to bring them forward. However, each group got through safely without the loss of a single unit.
Thereafter, logistic services continued through August for such of the forces as departed from Eniwetok for the objectives. At Majuro, Kwajalein, and Eniwetok, with facilities still quite limited. ServRon Ten serviced the vessels of all the Central Pacific Forces in this campaign, both before and after D-day. This support included emergency battle-damage damage repairs as well as routine minor repairing; maintenance, and replacements for all types of vessels; handling of all types of ammunition and ordnance requirements; furnishing provisions, material, and other necessary supplies; storage and distribution of fuel and fresh water; and rendering services in connection with personnel. Commander Service Squadron Ten acted in the capacity of Senior Officer Present Afloat (Administrative) while based at Majuro, and continued as such on arrival at Eniwetok. Until the establishment of a port director ashore, at Majuro on 29 May 1944, ServRon Ten rendered all the services of the office, which included organizing and routing convoys, arranging escorts, pilotage, and assignment of anchorages.
Besides services for naval forces, Commander Service Squadron Ten was also required to maintain at specified levels supplies for land-based forces, of types B+C rations; maintenance supplies for Army, Navy, and Marine personnel; fuel and lubricants in 10-day supply for all
vehicles, power plants, distillers, and army kitchen ranges; medical supplies and motor and small-boat maintenance; ammunition, bombs, and pyrotechnics for aircraft; ammunition for antiaircraft weapons and ammunition for all other. While the foregoing is not fleet logistics, it has a bearing since it constituted an extra burden on the squadron already overburdened with work for the fleet.
Choosing the oiler Guadalupe, Captain H.A. Anderson, as an example, the support she gave Admiral Spruance's forces between 17 May and 13 July was noteworthy. Arriving at Majuro 17 May, she reported to ServRon Ten for duty in Task Group 50.17, under Captain E.E. Paré in the John D. Henley. The fuel section of Ten, under Lieutenant Commander C.T. Munson, coordinated the fueling operations of tankers while in the harbor. On 20 May the Guadalupe fueled the four cruisers Santa Fe (2,910 bbls.), Mobile (3,700 bbls.), San Juan (2,460 bbls.), and Oakland (2,390 bbls.). On the 27th she gave the Alabama 6,450 barrels of fuel and 4,091 gallons of aviation gasoline. Later that day she gave the New Jersey 7,72 barrels of fuel oil and 2,454 gallons of aviation gasoline. On the 31st she pumped 8,292 barrels of fuel oil and 819 gallons of gasoline into the North Carolina, and 7,918 barrels of fuel into the Washington.
Some Service Units and the Part They Played With the Fleet in the Marianas
In preparation for fueling-at-sea operations it now became necessary for the Guadalupe to go alongside the commercial tankerBerote to refill. The record 1 June shows that she took aboard 51,691 barrels from the Berote, and gave another fleet tanker, the Marias, 5,832 barrels of Diesel oil. On 4 June the Guadalupe took 7,812 barrels of Diesel oil from the merchant tanker Saconnet. The former ship, with the Platte and Caliente, formed Task Unit 16.7.4 for at-sea operations in support of the Fifth Fleet. The group was ready for sea 6 June, with the Guadalupe carrying 90,139 barrels of fuel oil, 7,840 barrels of Diesel fuel, and 391,202 gallons of aviation gasoline.
Three days later in a fueling area she issued oil to the light carriers Monterey and Cabot and the destroyers Hickok, Hunt, Owen, Patterson, and Bagley. The first of these ships came alongside at 6:25 a.m. By 12:45 p.m. all had cleared, a total of 12,883 barrels of fuel and 14,729 gallons of gasoline having been issued. The next day she fueled three ships of
the screen, and on the 11th the heavy cruisers Boston, Baltimore, and Canberra, the antiaircraft cruisers San Juan and Oakland, and the destroyer Conner with a total of 36,168 barrels of black oil. All ships were clear that afternoon by 3:25.
On D-plus-1 day, 16 June, the Guadalupe fueled the battleships Washington and New Jersey and the destroyers Stephen Potter and Miller with a total of 39,444 barrels of fuel, 743 barrels of Diesel oil, and 818 gallons of aviation gasoline. The tanker now had to replenish her cargo, and in company with other empties, the Cimarron and Neshanic, withdrew from the fueling area, reaching Eniwetok 19 June. Between the 20th and 21st the ,i>Elk and Gemsbok, station tankers under operational control of ServRon Ten at Eniwetok, gave her a total of 102,453 barrels, and 22 June the Signaldelivered 3,937 barrels, part of which the Guadalupe needed for her own bunkers. She was again ready for sea with 92,879 barrels of fuel, 5,230 barrels of Diesel oil, and 375,657 gallons of aviation gas for issue.
On 25 June the Guadalupe arrived in a fueling area west of Saipan in the Marianas where, 3 days later, she helped fuel Cruiser Division Six and Destroyer Squadron Forty-five. From 29 June to 10 July she operated in assigned fueling areas with her task unit, 16.7.4, one of the oiler units of Task Group 50.17 under Captain Paré. Leaving the areas on the 10th, she reached Eniwetok 13 July.
That is the record of one oiler backing up the fleet before and after the assault on Saipan. The Guadalupe was one of the 24 oilers in the 8 fueling-at-sea groups in this operation and shares with the other oilers involved the approbation of the writer and others who know of the splendid service rendered in delivering oil and gasoline--the life blood of any operation--besides carrying personnel, mail, movies, aviation spare parts, some ammunition, some food, and other items. This service was in areas close to the target but far enough back to miss the glamour and excitement of the actual combat phases. Some, but not this writer, might overlook or take for granted the substantial contribution made by these ships to the success of the different campaigns.
The escort carrier played an important role in the preliminary stages of many operations by delivering aircraft, engines, and aviation gear to the fleet at anchorages and to atoll commands. Also, during the progress of
The Escort Carrier: Aircraft Replacement
the operations themselves, the CVE, cruising with fueling units in assigned areas, catapulted replacement planes to the "flat tops" of the fast carrier forces. An example of the aircraft replacement phase of logistic support is shown in the work of the Copahee, Captain D. Harris.
On 17 April, 2 months before D-day for the Marianas, the Copahee left Pearl with 86 aircraft, 390 passengers, and 196 cases of equipment. On the 23d she unloaded her planes at the Majuro air station for further transfer to the fleet, or for use as combat air patrols. Reloading, she took aboard 23 damaged planes, 2 aircraft engines, and 312 passengers, leaving on the 26th for Pearl. Back at Majuro again 12 May, she unloaded 58 planes, 20 of which she catapulted, and 7 cases of airplane parts. The next day she was underway once more for Pearl, where she loaded 61 planes: 25 fighters, 15 torpedo, 20 bombers (SB2C), and 1 SBD bomber.
On 3 June she left Pearl to operate as Task Unit 16.7.10, as part of Task Group 50.17, the oiler group previously mentioned. On the eve of D-day, 14 June, she launched planes to carriers as follows: 4 fighters and 1 torpedo to the Cowpens; 1 fighter, 1 torpedo, 3 SB2C bombers to the Hornet; 4 fighters to the light carrier Bataan; 5 fighters, 5 torpedo, and 7 SB2C bombers to the Yorktown; 4 fighters, 2 torpedo, and 2 Avenger pilots to the light carrier Belleau Wood. From units of the fast carrier groups the Copahee received "flyable duds," aircraft not usable in combat operations. On 16 June she reported to Commander Task Group 58.2, Rear Admiral Montgomery, and launched planes; for the Wasp, 3 torpedo bombers and 1 SB2C; for the Lexington, 1 torpedo bomber; for the Bunker Hill, 4 dive bombers and 2 Avenger pilots; for the Enterprise, 1 torpedo bomber and 1 TBM pilot.
On 17 June the busy Copaheewas en route from the Marianas to Eniwetok, where she replenished her supply of aircraft by loading 63 planes, leaving 22 June for operations near the Marianas again. On 26 June she reported to Task Group 58.4 and launched aircraft for the Langley, Cowpens, and Essex. On 6 July she dispatched 3 torpedo planes to Isley Field on Saipan, and the same day launched 26 fighters, 7 torpedo, and 10 SB2C bombers, distributed among the Wasp, Cabot, Bataan, Monterey, Yorktown, and Hornet. Anchoring in Garapan Harbor, Saipan, on 7 July, she loaded Japanese aircraft, engines, and aviation gear before leaving for the United States by way of Eniwetok and Pearl.
These details illustrate a new type of logistic support: Replenishment of carrier aircraft at sea. While fueling at sea was practiced by our Navy before the war, and during the war skillfully improved until it became
almost routine, the carrier replacement by the CVE idea was entirely new and peculiar to operations in the Pacific. Combat or operational losses of pilots and aircraft did not necessarily require the fighting carrier to retire from the combat zone. The carrier captain need only call upon the replenishment carrier to supply his needs on the spot. This procedure, among others, accounted in part for our ability to keep the Japanese off balance.
During the preparatory period for the Marianas campaign, the Navy cargo ship Azimech, Lieutenant Commander E.P. Gaither, arrived at Majuro Atoll 18 May and during the last 5 days of that month discharged 192 tons of canteen stores to 51 ships. After discharging 35 more tons, this time to 21 ships, she left for Eniwetok, arrived there 6 June, and operating under orders from Commander Service Squadron Ten remained there until 9 July. During June she issued 2,223 tons of dry provisions to 142 ships and 174 tons of canteen stores to 171 ships and units. The Azimech had four 50-foot mechanized landing boats and two 36-footers of her own, and these handled 70 percent of the above tonnage to the various large ships served. Submarine chasers, motor mine sweepers, and other small craft came alongside. The Azimech set stores on their own decks. At her first anchorage at Eniwetok Atoll she experienced considerable difficulty with boats alongside because of rough water.
The Stores Ship: Dry Provisions and Canteen Stores
None of the Pacific atolls had sufficient land mass to break the full force of the wind, though they afforded some protection from the long ocean swells. As anchorages they were large enough to accommodate hundreds of ships, but were often very rough for small-boat work and for mooring one ship to another. Because of this condition the Azimech had to move to another berth in the northern part of the lagoon where more favorable unloading conditions prevailed. During the period 1 to 9 July she issued 3,055 tons of dry provisions to 117 ships, and 311 tons of canteen stores to 54.
On the eve of her departure for Pearl for another cargo of provisions, she was ordered to transfer her 4 LCM's and 2 LCVP's, complete with boat crews, for duty in Squadron Ten's boat pool. Four LCVP's, beyond economical transfers were typical of cannibalizing, born of necessity. Boats were
among the scarcest items in the Central Pacific. The LCM and LCVP types especially were never quite plentiful enough for the best support of Operation FORAGER. As the growing fleet, with consequent logistic support, moved westward, the need of more and more boats mounted. The combat ships had none--too hazardous to carry, and the boats had to be provided by the service-squadron pools. The demand was great, persistent, and seldom fully met. In short, the boat situation was one of the most trying problems that plagued the service squadron commander; it continued to do so all the way across the Pacific. The problem was never fully solved.
The Bridge, Commander R.E. Stevens, brought refrigerated provisions to Majuro 27 April 1944. At noon of 4 May she began provisioning Task Force 58, Mitscher's Fast Carrier Force, and kept at it until 10:10 a.m., 7 May. The same day she left for Pearl for replenishment, and after about 3 days there loading was back at Majuro 31 May.
Commander Service Squadron Ten ordered her to Eniwetok, where she was busy 7-9 June--1 week before D-day--giving her cargo of fresh and frozen provisions to units of Admiral Turner's force. She then left Eniwetok for Pearl. There Lieutenant Commander T.M. Saul relieved Commander Stevens, and on 14-15 July the ship was again busy discharging at Eniwetok.
Besides the Bridge and vessels of her type, the tenders Prairie, Markab, and Cascade, the concrete barge Quartz, the refrigerator barge YF-412, the YP 239, and YP's 282-287 provided fresh and frozen provisions to some extent during the Marianas campaign, though they had to load their stocks from provisions stores ships before they could supply other vessels.
For an idea of the extent of repairs necessary for units of the fleet just before and after the initial assault on the Marianas, the activities of the repair ship Ajax, Commander J.L. Brown, may be taken as typical. On
The Repair Ship: Repairs During Marianas Operation
5 March 1944, she reported to the logistic support group of Squadron Ten at Majuro. During the rest of the month she repaired 74 different fleet units ranging from big carriers and fast battleships down through LST's and YMS's including some work on merchant ships and jobs for two shore activities on Majuro Island.
Nearing the time for the assault, with more ships assembling, the work load increased. In April the Ajax serviced 96 ships and in May 103, of various types. In June she cared for 157 ships, among them 7 fast battleships and 3 old ones, 1 large and 1 small carrier, 3 heavy cruisers, 10 light cruisers, 45 destroyers, 19 destroyer escorts, 2 ammunition ships, 4 oilers, 2 stores ships, 2 merchant vessels, minecraft, fleet tugs, YMS's, SC's, and station and yard craft. She also did some work for the Naval Air Base, Majuro.
Part of the ship repair work in June was done at Eniwetok, where the Ajax arrived on the 19th with the ammunition ship Shasta. During July the Eniwetok load increased to 173 fleet units. As that month marked the completion of the Saipan conquest, and the landings on Guam and Tinian, repairs by the Ajax during August fell off to 120 units, and further in September. During the latter month the ship was quarantined and moved to Kwajalein because of an epidemic of dysentery on board.
Three other repair ships and three repair barges were likewise busy with fleet work during the same period.
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