It is a calm, cool evening in a remote stretch of the Mediterranean. Far from busy shipping lanes and scattered fleets of fishing boats, two ships prepare to rendezvous and conduct underway replenishment operations. One is a U.S. Navy destroyer, the other, a large Military Sealift Command (MSC) oiler. Both ships come into visual range, and soon the destroyer is in position on the starboard quarter of the oiler, awaiting the signal to come alongside.
The signal is given, and in short order the commanding officer of the destroyer brings his vessel alongside the oiler, matching her speed and maintaining a prescribed distance off abreast. The crews on both ships are well practiced in this drill and know the choreography required to make the evolution happen quickly and safely. The decks of both ships are a flurry of activity, as crew members scramble in the glare of artificial light to rig lines and hoses between the two moving vessels. After a few tense minutes, the lines and hoses have been passed, connected, and the operation is under way.