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Supply Corps Reserve Officers Take on the Waterfront
April 22, 2013
As you walk aboard a combatant grey-hull, you may be surprised to learn the junior Supply Corps officer holding the Disbursing, Sales Officer, Food Service officer, or Wardroom Officer job is actually a Navy Reserve officer, Designator 3105 … yes, a Reservist serving on Active Duty Recall orders.
Having reservists serve as division officers afloat is an opportunity unlike any other, but as a result of recent 3100 manning shortages, the Supply Corps community began augmenting gapped afloat billets with Reservists who have completed the six months Active Duty Basic Qualification Course (BQC), or have completed the BQC-NR with high marks.
Having completed the same training as their active duty counterparts, the integration process has proven to be seamless. Since September 2012, 12 Supply Corps Reserve junior officers are serving on various afloat units homeported on both coasts, as well as Yokosuka, Japan.
Lt. j.g. Manuel Enciso and Lt. j.g. Roger Hawthrone, are two of the recently selected officers heading off to be Disbursing/Sales Officers aboard the San Diego-based USS
(LSD 45) and USS
(DDG 102), respectively. “This opportunity gives new meaning to ‘one team, one fight,’” Lt. j.g. Hawthorne explained. “These opportunities will strengthen the Supply Corps Selective Reservist (SELRES) ranks for years to come by giving them a broader perspective and hands-on experience to be ready to answer the nation’s call to duty.”
Lt. Amy Stoniecki, currently serving as the S5 officer aboard USS
(LHD-1), spoke about her experience too. “This is a great opportunity, both personally and professionally,” she said. “I went straight from BQC graduation, into the Reserves, and shortly thereafter mobilized to Afghanistan for a year. I didn’t have a good feel of what Supply Corps SELRES officers did. After being picked up for the ship recall billet, I knew it was going to be a challenge being a newly promoted lieutenant coming in feeling like I was directly out of BQC.”
She said that her previous assignments prepared her to work with joint and senior officers, “but I hadn’t done anything with supply. Though it has only been a short time, I have learned so much and realized that with this tour under my belt, I will have many opportunities available to me moving forward,” she explained. “All my experiences in this role, thus far, have prepared me for whatever path my career takes. SC Reservists have the opportunity to serve with active components. It gives them more of an opportunity to serve their country and be a part of something bigger than just doing their regular commitments.”
“There are plenty of reservists out there that would love to go active and get that experience – this is definitely the way to do it,” Lt. j.g. Stoniecki added.
Lt. Cmdr. Antonio Carmichael oversees the Reserve Program at the Navy Supply Corps School (NSCS) at Newport, R.I. When asked what impact these recall assignments would have on the 3105 SC community; he said, “Members gain invaluable experience as well as hands-on application of the knowledge, tools, and techniques gained during their respective training phases. Having completed a tour afloat will definitely separate these individuals from their peers and provide them with a knowledge-base only gained by their active duty counterparts.”
“If the trend continues, having Reservists assigned afloat will add increased credibility to the Reserve force,” he added.
As with any other 3100 with orders to their initial sea tour, those selected for recall orders are assigned to a three-year tour as an Assistant Supply Officer or Division Officer. In addition to putting into practice the information attained at NSCS, 3105’s also bring a unique quality to the table. When AC BQC seats are made available to the Reserve community, there is a thorough selection process that takes place, to ensure only those candidates who have shown high academic aptitude are chosen.
In addition to academic achievements, their civilian work experience can also be considered during the selection process. Those selected for these exciting opportunities are extremely talented individuals, and bring onboard a proven track record established not only as a Reservist, but also from the private sector. This diverse pool of knowledge and experience attained from their civilian jobs not only helps close the gap between their active duty counterparts, but has also proven to be quite beneficial to the commands where they serve.
So what is the waterfront saying about the Reserve junior officers at sea? “Lt. Amy Stoniecki is performing superbly as my S5 Division Officer”, said Cmdr. Darrell Mathis, USS
(LHD-1) Supply Officer. “I could not be more pleased with the energy she brings to the job every day. Having been employed in the business sector, she brings additional maturity and work experience that has allowed her to be seamlessly incorporated into how we do business.”
“She is a trusted member of Wasp’s Supply Department, and will be assigned future divisional responsibilities within normal division officer rotations,” he added. “This is a great initiative that has allowed me to fill a manning deficiency with a quality junior officer.”
Capt. Eddie Montero, Deputy Chief of Staff/Logistics at Commander, Navy Reserve Forces Command (CNRFC), said he encourages more 3165's to take advantage of the AC BQC seats when available. “The camaraderie associated with going to the BQC with the 3100s, the chance to go on Additional Training (AT) to a ship, in support of the BQC to Sea program, not to mention the chance to be recalled to active duty to assist the 3100 community, is a once in a lifetime set of opportunities,” he explained.
In addition to the temporary recall opportunities, NSCS, CNRFC, and Commander Naval Surface Force Atlantic (CNSL) have teamed to champion the “BQC to Sea” pilot program. This program allows a select few graduates from each BQC-NR company the unique opportunity to perform their first Annual Training (AT) aboard a ship for a shortened underway period. Each individual participating in this program has the opportunity to experience what life aboard a ship would be for a junior Supply Officer, which includes everything from running a ship’s store and operating a barbershop, to standing underway watches.
At the completion of the two weeks of AT, an After Action Report highlighting their experience and a Personnel Qualification Standards (PQS)/Job Qualification requirements (JQR) is submitted to the CNRFC program manager, who maintains and uses their newly acquired knowledge for possible future shipboard recall assignments.
It’s this type of Active/Reserve integration that creates the blueprint to allow junior officer SELRES to seamlessly fill traditional Supply Corps afloat billets. When Cmdr. Brian Malloy, serving at CNSL N41, was asked what he thought of the program, and if he had received any feedback from the fleet, he said, "We continue to receive positive feedback regarding the ‘BQC to Sea’ program from our afloat Supply officers and recent participants alike.”
“Allowing BQC graduates to perform their initial annual training onboard our ships offers these junior officers a greater perspective of supply operations at sea,” he added. “The pilot program provides a unique opportunity for these officers to actively participate in day-to-day operations support. The fleet benefits by having a more prepared Reserve Supply officer in the event of contingency.”
In an era where funding constraints drive numerous manpower decisions, the Reserve component continues to play a major role as a reach-back source. For the past several years, the partnership that exists between the Active and Reserve components has strengthened significantly. The ability to place 3105s aboard ships in a seamless manner is based on several factors. Allowing SELRES to fill AC BQC seats ensures fully qualified Supply Officers are readily available for future requirements. Additionally, the “buy-in” from the active component to create and accommodate an afloat training environment for 3105 JO’s, allows the community to maintain future readiness and validates the concept of a “one force” Navy.
“Although the recent recall assignments are primarily a result of 3100 manning shortages, there’s a lot of value to be gained in the long run when it comes to having qualified 3105 shipboard experienced Supply Corps officers in the inventory,” Capt. Eddie Montero explained. “Individuals who have completed a division officer tour at sea, and are warfare qualified, would also be excellent candidates to be recalled for short-fused, gapped department head afloat billets, if the requirement exists.”
“The Reserve Supply Corps community has always taken pride in being a sea-going community,” he added. “Hence, it is imperative that these types of opportunities are embraced by our junior officers, and they make every effort to experience time underway. The opportunity to serve aboard ship, in a leadership role, and be able to earn a warfare pin, in addition to directly supporting the fleet side by side with the AC counterpart and do it successfully, would be a superb professional accomplishment and ultimately prove to be very valuable to anyone's career.
The Reserves have long solidified their footprint on land through expeditionary logistics, but are now proudly making their mark aboard ships. The lines that once clearly divided the designators seem to be blurred as initiatives developed through AC/RC integration and partnership continue to validate the “One Team, One Fight” concept, and we are privileged to have such an abundance of Reserve Supply Corps officers willing and able to transition seamlessly to active duty.