Tactical to Strategic: Naval Special Warfare Logistics Specialists Support Operations in East Africa

BY LT. J.G. DYLAN G. HAYDEN, SC, USN
SEAL TEAM FOUR

Logistics Specialists from Naval Special Warfare Logistical Support Unit 2 attached to SEAL Team FOUR completed a six-month deployment to austere locations in the AFRICOM area of responsibility. While in East Africa, two logistics specialists served in critical roles as the forward J4 and program managers, supporting counter violent extremist organizations (C-VE O) operations under Special Operations Command Forward- East of Africa (SOCFWD-EA). Logistics Specialists LS1 Freddie DeJesus and LS2 Jeffrey Ziegler were tasked as paying agents with a $10 million budget in support of one of the largest Department of Defense programs of its kind. Together they executed the multi- million dollar program at the tactical level, leading Joint service members and civilian personnel to conduct their daily mission.

As a SOCFWD-EA outstation J4, their responsibility was to ensure the readiness of the U.S. personnel camp, while also working with a local Somali Partner Force. DeJesus and Ziegler engaged the Partner Force J4 and executive officer on a daily basis. Their duties included supervising the payment of salaries to the Partner Force troops, along with the issue of gear, supplies and equipment. Not only did they interact with the Partner Force on a supervisory level, but they mentored and trained Partner Force J4 personnel in property management, storekeeping, financial management, and the overall accountability of gear and equipment. At the conclusion of the deployment, DeJesus and Ziegler were personally recognized by the Partner Force General during a ceremony thanking them for their outstanding effort.

LS1 Freddie DeJesus, SEAL Team FOUR Combat Service Support Troop, witnesses the bookkeeping of partner forces during salary payment.

In addition to mentoring the Partner Force, DeJesus and Ziegler also led a Joint force to ensure mission preparedness of their austere camp to include camp maintenance, support to all critical life support systems, and vehicles maintenance. They also submitted orders for all classes of supply, including Class I (subsistence) and coordinating aerial deliveries.

Their exceptional financial management, liaison skills, and expeditionary decision making were critical to the successful accomplishment of their outstation’s mission. Their resourcing efforts ensured their outstations remained properly equipped to maintain the highest operational tempo in program history, directly supporting mission success during 64 complex and politically sensitive combined operations during a six-month deployment. Additionally, DeJesus played a key role in support of his outstation’s 12-day operation, the first enabled C-VE O operation of its kind against an extremist organization in East Africa.

Thanks to their logistical knowledge, leadership and initiative, their team directly enabled the significant degradation of a VE O area of influence within their region and directly impacted strategic level operations through their tactical skills.

September/October 2017