BY TOM KREIDEL, OFFICE OF CORPORATE COMMUNICATIONS NAVSUP FLEET LOGISTICS CENTER NORFOLK
Naval Supply Systems Command (NAVSUP) Fleet Logistics Center (FLC) Norfolk’s Fleet Assist Team completed pre-deployment load out assistance for USS Arlington (LPD 24) Oct. 1, as the ship prepared for its deployment with the USS Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group.
The team conducts pre-deployment assist visits to ensure deploying ships have points of contact at overseas Navy Exchanges and the shipboard ship’s serviceman (SH) team has the proper laundry, barbershop and ship’s store supplies while underway.
“The initial load out is critical,” said Master Chief Ship’s Serviceman Eric Maxwell. “We place an emphasis on ‘never out’ stock items, such as toiletries.”
NAVSUP FLC Norfolk Operations Department Director Bob Howard says the assist visits are vital to a ship getting underway because a correctly stocked ship’s store is a vital quality-of-life factor for Sailors, and the store’s profits help fund the ship’s Morale, Welfare and Recreation fund.
“While the Food Service division is probably the number one morale driver, the Sales division is right on their heels with respect to ship’s store, vending machines and laundry,” Howard said.
Maxwell added that the team works with soda company vendors to ensure vending machines are in working order for the deployment and shipboard SHs are trained to use them. Ship’s laundry equipment is also groomed and serviced.
The Fleet Assistance Team (FAT) assist visit process takes place over a period of a few months, with the first visit coming at least three months before deployment, if not earlier. Maxwell says the FAT continues assisting the ship during the entire deployment and post-deployment period.
“Regardless of where the ship is located during deployment, the FAT can reach out to provide assistance,” said Maxwell.
USS Arlington departed for its deployment Oct 6.