The Art of Supply Management

BY CMDR. JOE SYMMES, SC, USN COASTAL RIVERINE GROUP TWO N41

Riverine Command Boat (RCB) 802, assigned to Combined Task Group (CTG) 56.7 -U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Torrey W. Lee/Released

Riverine Command Boat (RCB) 802, assigned to Combined Task Group (CTG) 56.7 – U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Torrey W. Lee/Released

The breadth of responsibility at Coastal Riverine Group (CRG) TWO’s N41 is unlike any other billet I have ever held. My responsibilities cover everything from leading 50 officers, enlisted, and government civilians, to managing a 60 million dollar budget, to approving pack-up kit inventories and locations, to overseeing the busiest travel program in Navy Expeditionary Combat Command (NECC).

January 2016 marked the 10-year anniversary of the establishment of NECC. As a relatively young type command, there is a lot of exciting work going on to develop and strengthen regulation and guidance to the force.

Logisticians who like to analyze problems and develop their own solutions tend to prosper in this environment. Remaining open to new ideas while ensuring expeditionary forces stay safe is the key to developing creative solutions in this community.

The work is challenging to be sure, but the people are stupendous. There is a real pride that comes from working in the expeditionary community. From group physical training to our unique qualification program, my Sailors all have a sense of pride in their work that permeates everything they do.

One of my first few days as the CRG-2 Supply Officer, I came across a working party moving some big boxes. Noticing how heavy they were, I jokingly offered to move the rest for them. One of my Logistics Specialist 3’s pounded his fist on his chest and said, “Sir, I’m Expeditionary!” He then promptly picked up the next box and moved out smartly. I paused to think how refreshing this was to hear. The one thing that has remained true from day one is the caliber of men and women I have worked alongside and their drive to serve our Navy.

Going forward, I’m certain that this unique branch of the Navy – our expeditionary forces – will only gain in importance. More and more planners are recognizing the breadth of services the community provides and the unique skills we can leverage to support an operations plan.

Expeditionary warfare is a key link in allowing the Navy to bring capabilities inland and facilitating the critical ship-to-shore linkage. We are also proud to show the flag and represent the littoral face of the Navy for many civilians who interact with us in coastal areas.

Despite the 5:30 a.m. phone calls, it is an honor to work in the NECC ranks at CRG-2. I’m thankful for every day that I have the opportunity to serve in such a demanding and fast-paced job. If you think you have what it takes, ask your detailer about serving in an Expeditionary billet during your next permanent change of station.

September/October 2016