Brooklyn Native’s Naval Service Adds to Asian American, Pacific Islander Heritage

BY THOMAS ZIMMERMAN, Office of Corporate Communications, NAVSUP Business Systems Center

Lt. Dong Logan’s career and her roles as Navy enlisted, officer, and student. –photo illustration by Thomas Zimmerman

From humble beginnings heaving lines as a seaman for deck department aboard USS Pearl Harbor (LSD 52), to earning a commission as a Navy Supply Corps officer, to selection as Business/Enterprise Supply Chain Management (BEM) intern at NAVSUP Business Systems Center (BSC), Lt. Dong Logan’s service adds to the rich legacy and heritage of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the U.S. Navy.  “There are no short cuts on how to be successful in the Navy. Stay humble, keep an open mind, and keep pushing yourself. Opportunity is everywhere if you’re willing to do the work,” said Logan.  At age 12, Logan and her family moved to Brooklyn, New York, from Guangdong Province, China, to pursue what they called “the American dream.”

“My family believed moving to America was the future because it’s full of opportunities for freedom, prosperity, quality of life, and success for the next generation,” she said.

The move was exciting, but presented a significant challenge since no one in her family spoke English.

“The quality of life was much better here, but it was like learning how to walk for the very first time,” she said. “The struggle was real and I felt lost at times, but it got better once I settled into a routine and had a circle of friends.”

After graduating from high school in 2002, a friend suggested she join the Navy in hopes to improve language skills, learn a trade, pay for college, and obtain U.S. citizenship.

Taking her friend’s advice, she entered service March 2003 at the Military Entrance Processing Station in Fort Hamilton, New York, and left for Recruit Training Command, in Great Lakes, Illinois, shortly after.  “Basic training was my first time away from home,” said Logan. “It was both mentally and physically challenging as I had to learn a new military language and do things in a different way than I was used to.  “We were tested in every way and eventually learned how to discipline ourselves,” she said. “It made me a better and stronger person.” Her first duty station was aboard USS Pearl Harbor (LSD 52) in San Diego, California, where she was assigned to deck department as a seamen recruit.

“When I first got to San Diego, there were no Chinese people there so it was a culture shock for me,” she said. “Once I got to know the people I worked with and really opened up, they became a second family to me.  “It’s been like that for me ever since. You create a bond no matter where you go. That’s what makes the Navy different,” she said.  Logan knew that she wanted more for herself and made the decision to work toward a job as an information systems technician while assigned to USS Tarawa (LHA 1), homeported in San Diego.  “I remember their squared away uniform that’s ready for inspection at any time and how information system technicians on a ship play a very important role in providing reliable communication capability for the command and the outside world,” she said.  Her first step toward that goal was obtaining her U.S. citizenship.  “It’s a part of the American dream,” she said of citizenship. “There is a sense of security and it’s a privilege to live in the U.S.” Citizenship in hand, Logan tackled the next hurdle for the rating, called “striking.” As a seaman, she needed to obtain her commanding officer’s approval, complete a set of online courses via professional development under Naval Education and Training Command, complete about 200 hours of on-the-job-training with the Information Technology (IT) department, and obtain a security clearance before she was eligible to take the petty officer third class advancement exam.  Completing those requirements and passing the exam, she was designated as an information systems technician and scheduled to attend “A” school for initial technical training at Naval Station Great Lakes.  “It’s about job satisfaction and I enjoyed it very much knowing that I had helped someone on that day whether it was a printing issue, an email issue, or a hardware issue. They always say ‘do what you love, love what you do.’ Why not choose a field that you are passionate in?” After completing “A” school, Logan served as a message center operator and local-area network deck operator for Southwest Regional Maintenance Center in San Diego; and Blackberry administrator, server manager, and area manager for Naval Computer and Telecommunications Station, in Naples, Italy.

“Being mentored by trusted leaders made a significant impact on my career early on,” she said. “I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for one of my mentors Lt. Cmdr. Mark Stewart, then Lt. j.g. Stewart, when I was stationed in Naples, Italy. He was the first one who approached me and helped me figure out a career path that would work best for me and my family.”

After successful completion of duty in Italy, Logan was assigned as flag communicator for Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet, aboard USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19), in Yokosuka, Japan.

“I’ve learned that one must have the ability to communicate effectively by developing and delivering a clear message,” she said. “I had the privilege of working for both Vice Adm. Scott H. Swift and Vice Adm.  Robert L. Thomas Jr. as their communicator. Their leadership styles are completely different, yet both are expert communicators. These experiences shaped me professionally and provided the backdrop for learning about myself and how I should measure success as a leader.” While serving on these assignments, Logan was also growing personally and professionally by completing her bachelor’s degree in information technology from National University and her MBA from the University of Phoenix.

After achieving the rank of petty officer first class, Logan focused on a new goal, becoming a commissioned officer.  “I decided to strive for commissioning, not only to provide a better quality of life for my family, but to give back, do more, and lead Sailors at a higher level of influence,” she said.

She applied and was accepted for a direct commission through Navy Officer Candidate School (OCS).

After successfully completing OCS in Newport, Rhode Island, Logan was assigned as assistant supply officer aboard USS Curtis Wilbur (DDG 54) in Yokosuka.

While serving aboard the ship, Logan’s contributions helped the command earn the 2016 Pacific Fleet Bloodhound award, Battle Effectiveness (Battle “E”) award, and her division was awarded a 2017 Best of Class Award from Navy Exchange Service Command for superior performance in supply management assessment and outstanding customer service.

Logan also learned she could combine her love of IT with her role as a Supply Corps officer with the opportunity to obtain a Logistics Information Technology 1309S subspecialty code through the 24-month BEM internship program.

“My commanding officer and supply officer were very supportive of my desire to apply for this internship,” said Logan.  She applied, was selected, and reported to NAVSUP BSC in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, June 2018, to begin her internship.  BEM interns receive formal education and earn multiple accreditations in the management of information systems from universities such as Penn State University, The George Washington University, and University of Virginia, Darden Business School.

They also receive hands-on experience as project officers by directly interfacing with Enterprise systems governing the Navy’s supply chain.  Logan said the internship has exceeded her expectations.  “This is the type of experience that you won’t get anywhere else,” she said. “You not only get to focus on doing your job, but also your personal and professional growth. It’s a privilege to work alongside and learn from the military and civilians in the field.  “The people at NAVSUP BSC work hard behind the scenes and have a really important role in our Enterprise. Without them, Sailors wouldn’t have the tools to support their missions.” Awaiting her next challenge, Logan had advice for those who might follow in her shoes.

“Just take the first step. Take chances. Have a plan. Have the courage to do what you believe in,” she concluded.