BY LT. CMDR. ADAM HAMILTON, SC, USN
NAVY SUPPLY CORPS SCHOOL
The Navy Supply Corps School (NSCS) is right at home in Newport, Rhode Island. After packing her bags and heading north in late 2010, the schoolhouse left 57 years’ worth of memories in Athens, Georgia. However, in the process, a new chapter of the Supply Corps’ rich history began, and the legacy of our great community continues to thrive. After saying goodbye to Athens and completing the homeport shift to Newport, NSCS has seamlessly continued to operate a world-class training environment for military logisticians. Whether in Washington D.C., the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, on the campus of Harvard University, in New Jersey, in Athens or in Newport, regardless of geographic location, the schoolhouse has exceled in preparing students for the Fleet and has done so by firmly entrenching itself in the surrounding community. “We will always have a soft spot in our hearts for Athens,” says NSCS Commanding Officer Capt. Kristen Fabry. However, we are truly enjoying and greatly benefitting from the synergy of being co-located with the numerous academic institutions and training commands here in Newport.” Although the scenery around the schoolhouse has changed, the tradition and heritage of the Supply Corps’ center of learning excellence has not.
While relatively new to Naval Station (NAVSTA) Newport, NSCS has quickly and enthusiastically established itself as an active participant on base and around the Newport area. Embracing opportunities for collaboration has long been a hallmark of the Supply Corps, and being located at the Navy’s premier site for officer training affords the schoolhouse the opportunity to do so. By developing and strengthening relationships with other tenant commands on base, NSCS has continued to enhance the personal and professional development of both staff and students. Moreover, NSCS personnel have actively participated in community outreach and volunteer events, firmly integrating the command into the fabric of Newport and surrounding communities.
BASE-WIDE PARTNERSHIPS AND PARTICIPATION
Executing the schoolhouse’s mission, to “provide students with the personal and professional foundations for success,” is the driving force behind everything that occurs at NSCS. In order to support the mission and provide students with perspectives outside of the Supply Corps community, an underlying vision of NSCS is to leverage, to the fullest extent possible, training opportunities with other tenant commands on base. The diversity of professional communities and their expertise onboard NAVSTA Newport has significantly enhanced our training opportunities. During the last six years, NSCS has developed strong relationships with the Surface Warfare Officer School, Naval War College, Navy Justice School and NAVSTA Newport. Each of these relationships has played a key role in strengthening personal and professional experiences for NSCS staff and students. Let’s take a look at some of our partnerships:
Surface Warfare Officer School (SWOS)
Our partnership with SWOS has been extremely beneficial for both commands. Each SWOS prospective commanding officer (CO) and prospective executive officer (XO) student visits NSCS’ mock-up, which includes a realistic, life-sized replica of an afloat galley, ship’s store, barber shop, and laundry facility. The SWOS officers are provided with an in-depth brief and tour of the mock-up by NSCS staff, with an emphasis on issues that an afloat CO or XO would be concerned with, such as safety and sanitation. According to SWOS Instructor Lt. Cmdr. Micah Sybor, “The support NSCS provides SWOS is invaluable. We use NSCS’ superior facilities and instruction to provide hands-on training, reinforcing our objectives in the maintenance, readiness, cleanliness and service of shipboard service operations. The Senior Officer Ship Material Readiness Course is truly enhanced by the ability to show what right looks like!” Additionally, future Auxiliary and Electrical Engineering Division officers from SWOS are provided with a tour of the mock-up, with a focus on supply equipment and relationship-building with their supply counterparts.
Similarly, the Supply Officer Department Head Course (SODHC) students at NSCS benefit from SWOS’ expertise. SWOS instructors interact with SODHC students through lectures and interactive
discussions, imparting their knowledge from a line officer’s perspective. Leadership from SWOS, including CO Capt. David Welch and Executive Officer Capt. Kevin Meyer, routinely speaks to SODHC students about an afloat CO’s expectations of his/her supply officer (SUPPO). Lt. Jon King, a recent SODHC student and prospective SUPPO aboard USS Michael Monsoor (DDG 1001), stated that Capt. Meyer’s talk was “the highlight of the course.” After hearing Capt. Meyer speak, it reassured Lt. King that his future CO “is counting on him to be the supply expert on board. I feel confident that I’ll have my CO’s support and confidence to do my job and run my department.” Discussions with SWOS leadership, such as the one Lt. King experienced, provide our students with an invaluable forum for interacting with senior line officers, better preparing them for their afloat department head tours.
U.S. Naval War College (NWC)
In its short time in Newport, NSCS has developed strong ties with the NWC. Both staff and students from the schoolhouse have participated in NWC’s Ethics Conference, as well as the Naval Heritage Lecture Series. NSCS staff members have also participated in NWC’s Leader Development Continuum Council, which represents a body of key, senior stakeholders charged with developing a common framework for comprehensive and enduring leader development across all Navy communities. Leveraging these opportunities has provided command personnel with additional personal and professional development that has helped set the foundation for their naval careers. Additionally, guest lecturers from NWC’s Naval Leadership and Ethics Center frequently speak to NSCS’ Department Head Leadership Course students on a variety of leadership topics, such as command climate matters and the expectations of a department head.
NSCS also has a great working relationship with NWC’s Senior Enlisted Academy (SEA). Creating a partnership with senior enlisted leadership has markedly enhanced the training environment for our students. Every Basic Qualification Course (BQC) student has an opportunity to “Meet the Chief,” which is a forum where newly-commissioned SUPPOs discuss expectations of the Chief’s Mess and Wardroom with senior enlisted from all ratings. Moreover, the SEA participates in the “Pressure Cooker,” a BQC event where all students are placed in realistic, intense scenarios that they may experience in the Fleet. The SEA has been heavily involved with these popular events, and BQC students have praised the experiences as some of the most practical and beneficial during their time at the schoolhouse.
The NWC leadership helps contribute to the training of students at NSCS. Students who attend the Senior Supply Officer Department Head Course (SR SODHC) are provided with the opportunity to speak with the NWC president, who sits down with the prospective large-deck afloat SUPPOs and discusses topics ranging from leadership principles to ethics. Current NWC President Rear Adm. Gardner Howe III has provided his senior officer perspective to several SR SODHC classes, and it has proven valuable in preparing senior SUPPOs for their afloat department head tours.
Navy Justice School (NJS)
NSCS prides itself on attracting and developing world-class instructors; part of the methodology in doing so involves the administration of a time-consuming and challenging Master Training Specialist (MTS) qualification process. For Navy instructors, the pinnacle of a rewarding instructor tour is being awarded the MTS certification. The schoolhouse maintains a robust, streamlined program for the MTS qualification process, and other training commands on NAVSTA Newport have taken notice. NSCS has formed a partnership with the NJS, allowing its staff to participate in NSCS’ MTS qualification program. NJS staff members attend required MTS training, receive Personnel Qualification Standards signatures, and complete their online and oral boards as if they were members of NSCS. To date, several NJS staff members have earned their MTS qualification through NSCS, and we anticipate many more in the future.
NSCS students have been on the receiving end of NJS’ expertise; periodically, NJS instructors will deliver lessons to junior SUPPOs on topics such as good order, discipline and ethics. Receiving training on topics linked to legal connotations from subject matter experts has undoubtedly added value to the training and development of our Supply Corps’ future leaders who will be required to be armed with such knowledge. Also, senior leadership from NJS frequently sits on the NSCS’ Advanced Management Program leadership and ethics panel, where they provide valuable insight to students who represent future executives of both civilian and military organizations.
Naval Station (NAVSTA) Newport
The relationship that NSCS has built with NAVSTA Newport is invaluable to the training and esprit de corps for all staff and students, and it all starts at the top. Base Commanding Officer Capt. Dennis Boyer routinely speaks to BQC and SODHC students about the submarine community and life under the water. His humorous yet sincere and effective discussions have received rave reviews from staff and students alike.
Some of the special events that NSCS holds would not be possible without the support of base-wide personnel. NAVSTA Newport sailors have done an exceptional job supporting NSCS’ internal
functions, particularly BQC graduations. From the color guard, boatswain’s mates, base chaplains, and the Navy Band Northeast, the schoolhouse has received top-notch support and execution from these critical supporters.
NSCS has quickly become an active player on base, volunteering to hold events at the schoolhouse that attract positive attention to the command. Recently, NSCS hosted the NAVSTA Newport Chief’s Mess onboard to hold ceremonial colors, marking the 123rd birthday of the chief petty officer (CPO). Additionally, NSCS unveiled the CPO Wall of Pride in the schoolhouse to honor past and present CPOs. Both events drew all of NAVSTA Newport’s CPOs to celebrate the significant day in their history.
NSCS’ active participation and interaction with NAVSTA Newport extends to Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) events as well. Known as perhaps the most active participant on base, the
schoolhouse never fails to represent the Supply Corps during base-wide MWR events. Whether it’s a “fun run” 5K, Sexual Assault Prevention and Response dodgeball tournament, or an intramural
sports league, NSCS is always leading from the front and representing. This past winter, the schoolhouse won the NAVSTA Newport basketball title; comprised of both staff and students, the team brought home the coveted trophy and maintained base-wide bragging rights for the year!
BECOMING A PART OF THE COMMUNITY
As we all know, the mission of NSCS extends beyond the base’s gates. Since arriving to Newport in late 2010, NSCS has done what the Supply Corps does well and has done for years – integrated itself with the community through volunteer opportunities and outreach events. Since 2013, NSCS personnel have averaged over 4,000 annual man-hours of volunteerism throughout the Newport and greater Rhode Island region. This outstanding accomplishment is not only a testament to the staff and students who have recently passed through Newport, but also to the legacy of giving back to the community, which has been a distinct quality of NSCS since its early days. LSC(SW) Jeff Howell, NSCS instructor and command volunteer coordinator, asserts that “reaching out to the community is important for students. It allows them to unselfishly do for others, and it shows that they truly care for the same citizens whose freedoms they are sworn to protect. It also helps bridge the gap between the military and civilian communities.” Some of the more popular volunteer opportunities in Newport that staff and students have taken advantage of include work with Feds Feed Families, the Potter League Animal Shelter, local public schools and libraries, the Salvation Army soup kitchen, the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center, and various regional 5K and marathon races.
In particular, 2015 was a highlight for NSCS’ commitment to community interaction and outreach. Last year, the schoolhouse’s ongoing effort to positively impact Newport and the surrounding
community was recognized by NSCS’ awarding of the 2015 Navy Community Service Project Good Neighbor award. During that period, NSCS personnel demonstrated a sustained commitment to providing meaningful and dedicated volunteer service by donating 4,665 man-hours to local non-profit organizations. These efforts undoubtedly enhanced the spirit and goodwill between NSCS and the surrounding community. In 2015 alone, NSCS personnel engaged in 93 different community service projects with various social service organizations, including Habitat for Humanity, Soup Kitchen Network, and the Rhode Island Veterans Home. Such devotion on the part of NSCS personnel has clearly strengthened the ties that the schoolhouse – and the Navy – has with the local community.
NSCS staff and students have also actively participated in local events; further bolstering ties with the community. From marching in the Newport St. Patrick’s Day Parade, to participating in the annual Pell Bridge Run, the schoolhouse consistently is out in the front, representing the values of the Supply Corps and of our Navy.
Looking forward, we expect that the great tradition of community service and outreach will only strengthen between the schoolhouse and local area.
As we forge ahead into the future, NSCS continues to identify new areas for collaboration as our relationships evolve in Newport. In the past five and a half years, much has been accomplished, yet there is much to be done. NSCS XO Cmdr. Trent Kalp is a firm believer in the synergy that the schoolhouse creates with the surrounding community. He captures the essence of the schoolhouse’s community partnerships and connections by asserting that “Supply Officers utilize their knowledge, abilities and resources to fuel, feed and furnish the fight. Much like how successful Supply Officers leverage these skills both ashore and afloat to accomplish their command’s mission, the Navy Supply Corps School has effectively assimilated into Newport through partnerships with tenant commands and within the greater Newport community, yielding a training command that is perfectly situated to provide students with the personal and professional foundations for success.” For now, the Supply Corps can be proud of the immediate and positive impact our community has had in Newport. From establishing meaningful relationships with NAVSTA Newport and its tenant commands, to actively participating in community volunteer and outreach events, NSCS has certainly made its mark on Newport.
Indeed, NSCS is home.