Boatswain's Mate 2nd Class Joshua Johnson from Kennewick is shown removing netting from cargo on the flight deck aboard the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Antietam (CG 54) after conducting vertical replenishments or (VERTREP).

U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class James Hong

VERTREP is defined by the United States Department of Defense as "...the transfer of cargo between ships using helicopters. VERTREP is often used to supplement connected replenishment. Weapons loads, generally limited to 4000 pounds are transferred from the supply ship to the flight deck of the amphibious ship. The decided advantage of VERTREP is that it can effect replenishment without ship-to-ship connection.

VERTREP helicopters are equipped with a cargo hook from which may be suspended either special ordnance slings or conventional cargo nets for less sensitive loads. A normal load is two to four pallets, depending on weight. The load is placed in position on the deck of the receiving ship by lowering the helicopter slowly from a high hover, and the load can be released manually by a helicopter crewman positioned to watch the load.

USS Antietam CG 54 - wikipedia

Ships without large flight decks or support equipment like forklifts are often unable to break down palleted loads and transfer them off of the receiving deck as rapidly as the helicopter can deliver another load.  VERTREP supply ships carrying more than one helicopter can simultaneously make deliveries to several ships of a task group.

Food can be handled somewhat faster than munitions because of the reduced safety considerations.

The USS Antietam is forward deployed to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations in support of security and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.