BY LT. J.G. MICHAEL LUCAS, SC, USN
NAVY SUPPLY CORPS SCHOOL
Navy Supply Corps School (NSCS) Basic Qualification Course (BQC) 2nd Battalion Charlie and Delta Companies recently conducted the Fleet Familiarization Tour (FFT) in Norfolk, Virginia. A restructuring of the previous Saltwater Trip, the FFT provides a Fleet-based enhancement of the first-class NSCS education the students receive.
On average, 71 percent of NSCS BQC students have never experienced Fleet life. In contrast, our Surface Warfare and Nuclear Officer counterparts receive waterfront training at Basic Division Officer Course (Surface Warfare) or Power School and Prototype (Nuclear).
Forty-one 2nd Battalion students arrived in Norfolk, Virginia, on Saturday, Apr. 25, and departed on Saturday, May 2. During the professional venture, the officers shadowed their Fleet counterparts and worked TYCOM-approved Job Qualification Requirements (JQR), spanning all curriculums to include leadership and ethics.
In coordination with commander, Naval Surface Forces Atlantic, host ship assignments were based on platform availability and students’ orders. Students stayed on board USS Mason (DDG 87) and USS Oak Hill (LSD 51). For many of them, this was their first time on a naval vessel. USS Leyte Gulf (CG 55) was able to support several work days hosting future cruiser division officers (DIVOs).
Educational enhancement began Monday morning with Khaki Call and Divisional Quarters, followed by an in-brief with the Command Triad. Monday and Thursday were dedicated to JQR and shipboard shadowing. Students were split into groups among various supply divisions, with opportunities to participate in tasks they have learned about in the classroom. When not shadowing supply khakis on the ship, the ensigns were able to sit down and talk with both DIVOs and department heads for several hours.
On Tuesday, students met various Fleet Support activities. Representatives from NAVSUP Fleet Logistics Center Norfolk provided insight into contracting, husbanding services, fuels, integrated logistics support, postal, Navy Food Management Team, Global Distance Support Center, Fleet Assist Team, Navy Cash®, Field Examination Group, and Servmart. Lt. Cmdr. Chris Mayfield and Lt. Emmanuel Nneji briefed the students then provided a tour of the Material Processing Center warehouse at Defense Depot Norfolk, Virginia.
Force Supply Officer Capt. Harry Thetford, Naval Surface Force Atlantic, and Deputy Force Supply Officer Cmdr. Jason Adams, Naval Air Force U.S. Atlantic Fleet, began the Tuesday afternoon TYCOM session, followed by Capt. James Lowther, Force Supply Officer, Submarine Force Atlantic.
Wednesday was the FFT’s most diverse day, which included a tour of the USS George H. W. Bush (CVN 77) in the morning. Supply Officer Cmdr. James Strauss was able to gather all of his division officers in the wardroom for an early lunch with the students. Bush DIVOs were split among the various tables, providing small, intimate groups for discussion over a meal. The students then got a tour of the aircraft carrier; a highlight of the week.
In the afternoon, students went to Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story for an exciting look into expeditionary logistics. The afternoon began at Explosive Ordnance Disposal Expeditionary Support Unit 2 and ended at Naval Special Warfare Group Logistics Support Unit 2 (LOGSU). Students toured multiple spaces in the compound, followed by on-site briefs on transportation, facilities, equipment, robotics, and LOGSU operations.
Thursday morning, students spent several hours shadowing supply personnel on their respective future ships in the morning before a brief from Cmdr. Malloy of Afloat Training Group Norfolk. “I wish they had this when I was at the BQC because I would have already been familiar with the platform instead of spending the first two weeks learning where everything was on my ship,” said Ens. Couch, Assistant Supply Officer on board USS Mason.
NSCS intends to provide the FFT experience for all ensuing battalions, as long as funding can be successfully secured for the program. The FFT is a resounding success as it prepares our students and reinforces their education. Fortifying our students’ knowledge and abilities prior to reporting for their first operational tour will increase the Supply Corps community’s reputation as the benchmark for logistics and ethical excellence.
[caption id="attachment_3496" align="aligncenter" width="620"]
NSCS BQC 2nd Battalion, Charlie and Delta Companies, at Fleet Logistics Center Norfolk, Virginia, during their Fleet Familiarization Tour 27 Apr – 1 May 2015.