A Cascade of “Waterfall Support” for RIMPAC 2014

    For most of the year, the Naval Supply Systems Command (NAVSUP) Fleet Logistics Center (FLC) Pearl Harbor is confronted by a formidable task: As the key logistics provider in the Middle Pacific, it is responsible for supporting 31 homeported ships and submarines and approximately 160 transiting ships.

As RIMPAC came to a close, Naval Reservists, members of the Multinational Logistics Support Element and NAVSUP FLC Pearl Harbor logistics personnel took a few minutes away from their work for this group photo.  Thanks to the combined effort of everyone, including many people not seen in this photo, RIMPAC 2014 was the most successful RIMPAC ever held.  (Photo by Jim Murray)

As RIMPAC came to a close, Naval Reservists, members of the Multinational Logistics Support Element and NAVSUP FLC Pearl Harbor logistics personnel took a few minutes away from their work for this group photo. Thanks to the combined effort of everyone, including many people not seen in this photo, RIMPAC 2014 was the most successful RIMPAC ever held. (Photo by Jim Murray)

    The daily workload at NAVSUP FLC Pearl Harbor is always challenging and subject to last-minute changes brought about by the uncertainties of ship schedules; however, the daily endeavors pale in comparison to the increased workload that occurs every two years when the Rim of the Pacific Exercise gets underway. The largest multi-national maritime exercise in the world, RIMPAC, which ran this year from June 26 to August 1, included 22 nations, 49 surface ships, 6 submarines, and approximately 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel.

    As might be expected, the arrival of 49 U.S. and coalition vessels brought a substantial increase in manning and support requirements. NAVSUP FLC Pearl Harbor has a renowned 72-year history of providing world class service to the Fleet, but to be able to continue its celebrated service during RIMPAC, it was necessary to tap all available assets for support. It was time to call upon our nation’s Reserve forces.

    First held in 1971, RIMPAC has been a successful proving ground for the integration of Reserve Component Sailors into daily NAVSUP FLC Pearl Harbor operations. NAVSUP FLC Pearl Harbor has two Reserve units, the Headquarters unit, located in Honolulu, Hawaii, and Detachment Alpha, located in Denver, Colorado. Combined, the two units comprise 34 enlisted personnel and six officers; however, that figure represents only a fraction of the 150-175 Navy Reserve personnel required to successfully augment NAVSUP FLC Pearl Harbor during the RIMPAC exercise! It is the responsibility of the NAVSUP FLC Pearl Harbor Operations Department to plan a well-executed integration of reserve personnel into RIMPAC operations. To do this successfully, the Operations Department first needs to project manpower requirements, identify rates, and determine necessary skill sets for RIMPAC. That task began 15 months prior to the beginning of this year’s RIMPAC, when LCDR Tom Henggeler, NAVSUP FLC Pearl Harbor Operational Support Officer; CAPT Randall Ramian, Navy Reserve NAVSUP FLC Pearl Harbor HQ Commanding Officer; and LCDR Matthew McCabe, Navy Reserve NAVSUP FLC Pearl Harbor Det A Officer-in-Charge, implemented their reserve RIMPAC support plan.

    The Team first solicited support from other NAVSUP FLC reserve units; afterward, they approached the entire Reserve force. Hundreds of inquiries were received, and the Operations Department began the process of matching skill sets and availability. A scheduling spreadsheet listing each sailor by name, the skill set they possessed, and the area they would support was created to provide an “at a glance” snapshot of manning strength, and it also ensured critical skill sets were not overlooked. This spread sheet eventually became known as the “Waterfall Chart.”

    The foundation of the “Waterfall Chart” was the assignment of HQ and Det Alpha enlisted personnel over the six-week duration of RIMPAC. The majority of these personnel had completed Apprentice or Journeyman Logistic Support Representative training, and, in some instances, personnel had attained Master LSR qualifications. This provided the knowledge base and experience necessary to mentor the less experienced reserve forces. Recognizing that the number of eligible participants would be affected by FY14 Annual Training funding, most of the reservists were brought aboard for two weeks. In total, there were seven overlapping, two-week intervals (“Waves”) of reservists performing Annual Training throughout RIMPAC. The overlapping training intervals created a waterfall effect for the integration of qualified bodies into NAVSUP FLC Pearl Harbor operations. Each week, NAVSUP FLC Pearl Harbor had nearly 50 reservists available to support operations.

On a historic day for NAVSUP FLC Pearl Harbor, Fuel Department employee Kallen Brown (second from left) poses with three new friends from Down Under.  The two fellows on the right are Australian and the fellow in the neat kiwi bird cap is from New Zealand.  The photo was taken on 15 July, and it was on that day that FLC Pearl Harbor accomplished its first-ever refueling of four international oilers (Australia, China, New Zealand and the United States) in a single day.” (Photo by Jim Murray)

On a historic day for NAVSUP FLC Pearl Harbor, Fuel Department employee Kallen Brown (second from left) poses with three new friends from Down Under. The two fellows on the right are Australian and the fellow in the neat kiwi bird cap is from New Zealand. The photo was taken on 15 July, and it was on that day that FLC Pearl Harbor accomplished its first-ever refueling of four international oilers (Australia, China, New Zealand and the United States) in a single day.”
(Photo by Jim Murray)

    In addition to Logistics Specialists, Yeomen, Culinary Specialists, Linguists, and Ship Servicemen, various ratings with government equipment licenses were required to transport cargo to and from ships. Despite all the planning and publicity, a significant shortfall in licensed forklift and truck drivers became a serious concern as the exercise approached. Coordination was arranged with the 5th Naval Expeditionary Logistics Regiment, out of Port Hueneme, California, for 20 Cargo Handlers to assist operations, and 15 reserve Seabees ratings were obtained from Operational Support Units across the United States.

    Without the contributions provided by the Naval Reserve force, FLC Pearl Harbor would have been unable to execute its support mission during RIMPAC 2014. The 156 Reservists from across the nation worked together with each “wave,” flawlessly executing their mission and then handing off their duties to the next group. In all, 1,965 man days or 15,720 hours of support were provided by reservists, and their combined endeavors played a vital role in the most successful Rim of the Pacific in history.

By LCDR Tom Henggeler Operational Support Officer, NAVSUP FLC Pearl Harbor