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About 20 Navy Reservists gathered at Naval Station Mayport last week for a unique training course that may become a model for collaborative training across the Naval Supply Systems Command (NAVSUP) enterprise.
What’s unique is that these Reserve Sailors are not just from NAVSUP Fleet Logistics Center (FLC) Jacksonville. Some are members of other FLC Reserve units, such as the one attached to Yokosuka, Japan. The FLC Reserve units attached to Singapore and Sigonella, Italy, were also invited.
These units have the same training needs, but normally they would be focused on training only their own people. Jacksonville leaders had the idea that gathering many Reservists in one place for an intensive one-week class would fill multiple units’ gaps – gaps that had become particularly severe during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We had a hodgepodge of where people were with qualifications,” said Capt. Trey Scudder, executive officer of the Jacksonville Reserve unit. “I said ‘Let’s do better.’ We opened it up to the broader enterprise, and when they got wind of this, they were excited.”
At the end of the weeklong course, these junior enlisted logistics specialists go before a board to earn their qualification as journeymen logistics support representatives. It’s a title that tells their leaders they understand a broad swath of logistics functions, such as inventory management, postal operations and handling hazardous materials.
Why does that matter? As Reservists, these Sailors must be ready to parachute into an active-duty job if the Navy calls. “If you had to drop them into a warehouse in Kuwait or Norfolk, they wouldn’t have much of a ramp-up because the logistics support representative journeyman qualification means they know enough to go out and get started,” Scudder said.
The course was taught by Carlin Palmer, a master logistics support representative with NAVSUP FLC Jacksonville’s Logistics Support Center (LSC) at Mayport. It involved three days of classroom work, a day of individual study and then going before a board to be tested. Lt. Cmdr. Emilio Nodal, logistics support officer at LSC Mayport, coordinated the course and served on the final board.
Previously, the various FLCs had tried to offer the training broken up into quarters, conducted on a Friday and Saturday. But if a Reservist missed a class due to life obligations, it resulted in incomplete training and not achieving the all-important qualification. The new approach attempts to avoid that.
“It’s a huge thing and a great effort between the Reserve component and active-duty component,” said Lt. Cmdr. Tim Blank, Reserve program director at NAVSUP FLC Jacksonville. “It’s pretty innovative.”
Organizers say if the program proves successful, they will offer it again with invitations to other FLCs.
Departing the classroom after passing the board, two Reservists said the course was a veritable fire hose of information but a good overview of the required material.
“It was very fast-paced and a wealth of information at once, but it was information that was needed for whenever you actually do it in the fleet,” said LS2 Elizabeth Pedone, a member of an El Paso, Texas, detachment attached to FLC Yokosuka. “I’m very glad that we did it all together.”
“It’s a lot of information, but we won’t get it anywhere else,” said LS2 Lluvia Martinez, also with the Texas detachment attached to FLC Yokosuka. “The week is awesome, because we are civilians and we don’t get to take a lot of time off.”
The Reserve unit attached to the Jacksonville FLC is made up of about 90 Reservists spread across Florida, under the command of Capt. Mark Williams.
NAVSUP FLC Jacksonville is one of eight Fleet Logistics Centers under Naval Supply Systems Command. Headquartered in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, NAVSUP employs a diverse, worldwide workforce of more than 22,500 military and civilian personnel.
Jen Steele, 6197875429
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