BY SKY M. LARON
DIRECTOR OF CORPORATE COMMUNICATIONS
NAVSUP FLEET LOGISTICS CENTER YOKOSUKA
[caption id="attachment_5012" align="alignright" width="300"]
LSSN Travis Smith (right), NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka, logistics specialist (LS), is awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal April 29 by Cmdr. Justin Harts, commanding officer of the Arleigh Burkeclass guided-missile destroyer USS Benfold (DDG 65), for superior performance of his duties in the ship's supply department as part of a the NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka 'Sailors At Sea' program, which is a temporary duty assignment that allows first-term junior Sailors the opportunity to serve shipboard and gain valuable knowledge that aids them in their careers as LSs.
Naval Supply Systems Command (NAVSUP) Fleet Logistics Center (FLC) Yokosuka's "Sailors at Sea" program demonstrated success with the presentation of the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (NAM) to one of its participants April 29.
Logistics Specialist Seaman Travis Smith, NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka postal clerk, was presented the NAM by Cmdr. Justin L. Harts, commanding officer, USS Benfold (DDG 65), for his superior performance during a 2-month underway as a member of the guided-missile destroyer's supply department.
The NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka "Sailors at Sea" program was established to give shore-based logistics specialists (LS) in-rate job experience by allowing them to rotate to different work centers as well as have temporary assigned duty aboard a ship.
"It was the perfect chance to send the straight out of "A" school, hard-charging Sailor to sea," said Cmdr. Michael Schilling, director of operations for NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka. "This Sailor at Sea example became a true win, win, win scenario."
"The ship was extremely thankful for his hard work and effort. [Smith] was grateful for the opportunity and experience, and the Navy reaped benefits all around," Schilling added.
While aboard USS Benfold, Smith contributed to a bulkhead-to-bulkhead inventory, multiple spot inventories, Material Obligation Validation, accounting for Depot Level Repairables, participated in six replenishments-at-sea and worked on his Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist qualification earning a 99.8 percent score on the written exam, said Schilling.
"He was put in charge of supply storeroom [number four], in which he uncovered $260,000 worth of inventory not accounted for on the ship's stock system," said Schilling, adding that the storeroom became the ship commanding officer's model storeroom.
For seasoned Sailors who have had multiple deployments over many years, what appears to be a standard patrol with inventories conducted and port calls made, is something much larger to a junior Sailor who has come straight from the school house environment to a shore command without having yet gone to sea. This ride along with the USS Benfold crew becomes career-inspiring.
As for Smith himself, he will always remember this underway.
"It helped reignite my will to want to excel in the Navy," said Smith. "I would recommend this to every new Sailor that is stationed at [NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka]."
Members of the ship's crew shared similar positive sentiments about the experience.
"Thank you for allowing us to have him for the time period; he did amazing things for us," said Senior Chief Culinary Specialist Victor Chiquito, USS Benfold supply department leading chief petty officer. "He embraced the command as his own and took ownership of the programs given to him. Day in and day out he did beyond what was required and was always willing to help anyone."
NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka will continue to support the Fleet and its Sailors with the "Sailors at Sea" program.
"[Smith] had the pleasure of multiple port visits to Korea and Guam and somewhere in between; he learned so much more about the 'real' Navy and LS rating," said Schilling.