By Matt Jones, Corporate Communications, NAVSUP Weapon Systems Support
It was noon on Saturday when Dyan Hooper, program manager for Ships Service Gas Turbine Generators (SSGTG) at NAVSUP Weapon System Support (WSS), received a call from Mark Bottorff, a marine gas turbine inspector with the Mid-Atlantic Regional Maintenance Center. USS James E. Williams (DDG 95) was at risk to miss its window to get underway due to a broken reduction gear fuel pump. Attempts to troubleshoot had failed, so the ship needed a replacement part and Bottorff reached out to NAVSUP WSS to get one.
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Dyan Hooper is a program manager for SSGTG at NAVSUP WSS, located in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania. – photo by Dorie Heyer
Without that pump, the Arleigh Burke- class destroyer was down a generator. Being down one generator, the ship’s propulsion had potential to be degraded. To make matters worse, James E. Williams was due to get underway in two days.
Considering the time needed to transport the pump, install it and perform safety checks, the deadline was extremely tight. Hooper had faced similar requests in her five years at NAVSUP WSS, unfortunately, this was more complicated.
While NAVSUP WSS has structured its processes so many parts can be ordered and shipped to the fleet without any manual intervention, this part one required managerial review to ensure all troubleshooting measures had been exhausted. This requirement often saves money—by finding solutions that don’t require replacement—and time—by enabling the fleet to use local resources to get a ship up and running instead of waiting for a part to arrive.
Within 20 minutes of the phone conversation, Hooper had gathered all the information she needed to get the part to its destination, but there was a problem. The part was located in a warehouse owned by the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA)—not normally accessible on weekends—and the agency’s cutoff for Saturday shipping had passed.
As it turned out, however, the shipping cutoff was the least of the problems. Through the NAVSUP WSS command duty officer, one of very few employees working that day, she found someone from DLA who could access the part. Navy Lt. Willard Trefren of DLA confirmed the pump was in a warehouse with no weekend access and could not be shipped until Monday morning.
Back in Norfolk, five hours after the initial phone call, Bottorff confirmed with Hooper that receiving the pump any later than Sunday could result in what Navy refers to as a “fail to sail” for James E. Williams, a very costly delay with potential further ramifications.
“At that point, I thought about my husband and my brother who are both Army combat veterans, and I imagined telling them that their mission would have to wait, because some part was locked in a warehouse,” said Hooper. “That’s the essence of my job—getting our fleet what they need to complete their mission—and I was compelled to find a way to make that happen.”
Running out of options, Hooper refused to let down the men and women of James E. Williams simply because there was no easy solution.
“There was something we could do,” Hooper said. “It wasn’t something you’d find in a standard operating procedure, nor would any supervisors have wanted or required a team member to take on such a burden, especially outside of normal duty hours, but the solution was too simple to ignore.”
As a Navy officer, Trefren also understood the implications of failing to sail.
Hooper and Trefren agreed to meet at the warehouse so Hooper could personally sign for the part. She considered the criticality of the ship failing to sail versus her personal time and quickly made a decision. Early Sunday morning, she embarked on a 12-hour round trip to Norfolk to deliver the part.
The pump arrived on time. The repair was completed by Gas Turbine System Technician Senior Chief Petty Officer Eric Greentree. The ship was anchors up by Monday afternoon, right on schedule.
“Dyan’s selflessness allowed me to do my job and enabled the more than 350 Sailors of James E. Williams to get on with their mission,” Greentree said. “She truly went above and beyond.” Upon learning of Hooper’s actions, her commander was quick to commend her flexibility, resourcefulness and dedication. “Dyan would say she was just doing her job, but she went far beyond that,” said Rear Adm. Duke Heinz, commander of NAVSUP WSS. “She saw an extraordinary circumstance that required an extraordinary measure. While such commendable action should be the exception and not the rule, I am incredibly grateful to have men and women like Dyan Hooper serving here in the Navy’s program support inventory control point—NAVSUP WSS. I’m sure every Sailor in the fleet would feel the same way if they could see what happens behind the scenes to get them the supplies they need, when they need them, where they need them.”
Hooper humbly disagreed. “Getting supplies to the fleet is my job,” Hooper said. “Normally it’s a routine process—sometimes simple, sometimes complicated, but still routine. This time it took some extra effort. I was just doing my part.”