At Naval Air Station Sigonella embedded among a sea of blue camouflage, GySgt Joel Castillo does anything but blend in wearing his digital woodland uniform. With 15 years of service under his belt and looking toward his upcoming promotion to Master Sergeant, his selection as the first Naval Logistics Integration (NLI) representative for the U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) in the 6th Fleet, Africa Command (AFRICOM) and European Command (EUCOM) area of responsibility (AOR) is no surprise. As the primary point of contact for all logistics support for deployed USMC units in the AOR, GySgt Castillo provides a scope of influence key to the increasing efficiency and effectiveness of US Naval forces overseas.
Through the tentacles of the NLI program, GySgt Castillo supports units and detachments deploying in support of operations and exercises within the 6th Fleet, AFRICOM, and EUCOM AORs through the seamless flow of operational and tactical level logistics information across key logistic enablers within theater. As the requirements of our warfighter continually change, so too have their logistics requirements. A significant increase in the number of USMC personnel in the 6th Fleet AOR—from Africa Partnership Station to the Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force-Africa (SPMAGTF-CR-AF) Marines across the European and African continents—the requirement for a Marine Corps subject matter expert became apparent. As the NLI Marine Corps representative, GySgt Castillo provides insight and support that is particular to the mission and needs of the USMC. He ensures that the logistics requirements in support of the Global Response Forces and Alert Contingency Forces are feasible and fulfilled to maintain the increased readiness necessary to deploy and fight tonight as middleweight forces in response to rapidly emerging limited-scale crises and anticipated larger-scale contingencies. Under this “new norm” of operational requirements, warfighters at the tactical level must be supported logistically by the Marine Corps Forces service component (MARFOR) of the supported regional Combatant Commander when executing assigned missions.
Strategically located in Sigonella, Sicily, GySgt Castillo acts as the central point of contact for all deployed USMC forces in 6th Fleet, AFRICOM and EUCOM AORs. He is embedded in the NAVSUP FLC Sigonella Operations Department and participates in a weekly classified operations brief with CTF-63 and DLA, which he describes as “connecting [the deployed forces] with both blue side and green side support. They think they need to bring everything but the kitchen sink over here when we already have an infrastructure established for them forward.” His interaction with the Marine logisticians begins long before their arrival in the AOR. He provides a detailed logistics plan in support of pre-deployment briefs in both the support available to the deployed units once they arrive as well as identifying locations for the 3112 Distribution Management Specialists at key nodes to better support unit movements.
The ability to coordinate and support the warfighter once forward deployed is the primary mission of his billet. He leverages theater logistics enablers to locate supplies both locally and theater-wide through DLA and utilizing the existing SPMAGTF-CR-AF supply infrastructure vice requesting material from CONUS, significantly reducing wait times and improving intratheater communication. However, in the event material must be requisitioned from CONUS, he is instrumental in expediting, tracking, and resolving issues with customs and hazardous material requirements for forward deployed units.
On the front lines of the “new norm” of modern warfare at NAVSUP FLC Sigonella, GySgt Castillo is a vital member of a team that plays a critical role in an evolving maritime Naval force heavily focused on the littorals.
By Lt. j.g. Kristin Lein, SC, USN; NAVSUP Fleet Logistics Center Sigonella