By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Ashley E. Lowe
The aircraft carrier, USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) Supply Department offers services essential to Sailors’ missions and morale; from serving 24,000 meals a day, to the upkeep of laundry, and the sorting and organization of all parts, material and equipment coming aboard or departing the ship.
Eisenhower celebrated the U.S. Navy Supply Corps’s 225th birthday by holding a ceremony in the ship’s five-star classroom, Jan. 23.
“It’s a small Navy, but even smaller Supply Corps,” said Ens. John Castillo, Eisenhower’s hotel services officer.
Officers and enlisted Sailors alike benefit from the camaraderie that stems from the Navy’s supply network and mentorships.
Eisenhower’s supply team worked hard this last year, through galley preservation, new washing machines, gym equipment and countless inspections to show that the ship is ready for the long-term sustainment that is necessary for deployment.
“Celebrating the Supply Corps’s birthday was especially memorable this year as it coincided with the successful conclusion of Ike’s supply management inspection,” said Cmdr. Andrew Henwood, Eisenhower’s supply officer. “Ike’s Supply Department stepped up to the plate and hit a home run. Each division turned in an impressive score and showcased that we are more than ready to support Ike during our upcoming overseas deployment. I couldn’t be prouder of the team here and what we’ve accomplished.”
The Supply Department affects Eisenhower’s readiness for deployment, because their role is essential to the ship’s function and the crew’s well-being.
“Supply’s success is Ike’s success and vice versa,” said Lt. Cdr. Carl Pennycooke, Eisenhower’s principal assistant for services. “Each of the 13 divisions works extremely hard, often for long hours, to get the job done. Our team is strong, diverse, and knowledgeable. The work doesn’t stop at sea or in port.”
Each division and program have long hours for their own reasons.
“It’s a lot to get done,” said Logistics Specialist Seaman Jennifer Carr, who works in the facet program. She spends a lot of her time manually entering audits of receipts into the computer system. “You never realize how much people order until the day’s over and you see how many receipts you’ve entered one by one.”
Other times, all the divisions work as a team for ship-wide evolutions. “When we have 500 or 600 pallets during a replenishment at sea, everyone comes together and works as a well-oiled machine to get everything onboard,” said Retail Specialist 1st Class Petty Officer Dwayne Murray, a supervisor in supply’s S-3 division. “We have vertical replenishment and connected replenishment at the same time when we get mail, dry stores, parts and snacks. It is such an amazing thing. Even though the whole day is full of hard work, we get the parts and the snacks and all the stuff we ordered online, so everyone is happy. Those smiles are what the Supply Corps is really about.”
When he first joined the Navy, Murray was a single Sailor with no family or car and the only convenient place to get snacks was the vending machines aboard ship.
“I’d press the button on the machine and hear the whir of the mechanisms in anticipation for the item to fall down the vending shoot,” said Murray. “Whether it was an icecold drink of water, flavored soda, an energy drink or a snack, it made me feel a little bit better. I guarantee, however a person feels, the opportunity to get their favorite snack or drink from a vending machine or the ships store will improve their mood and, hopefully, their day.”
It takes hundreds of Sailors to complete such evolutions successfully and Pennycooke said he’s extremely proud of the Sailors aboard Eisenhower.
“They joined the Navy with a supply rate when they could have done other things,” said Pennycooke. “I try to pay it forward and provide mentorship with every opportunity given. Someone took the time early in my career to provide me with the right guidance, and as a result I have made informed career choices and have experienced success. Some Sailors may not know what they want to do early in their careers but I’ve been in the Navy since before many of the youngest Sailors were born. I have gained experience and knowledge from my work as both an enlisted Sailor and an officer and am confident that I can lead them on the right path or at least point them in the right direction.”
Although there are many Sailors in supply rates across the Navy, the Supply Corps is a close-knit community of 3,500 officers.
“At one of our inspections this year, a commander took his time to sit down with the junior officers for 30 to 45 minutes to talk about career choices and future opportunities,” said Castillo. “You don’t see that often.”
A culture of giving back and recognizing one another in times of success is one effect of having such a close-knit community at the top of the chain of command. That mindset can trickle down and affect junior sailors as well.
Culinary Specialist Second Class Tavaris Anderson, aft galley’s watch captain, was slightly discouraged from the seven percent advancement rate, until his chief congratulated him in a Facebook post.
“That’s how I found out,” said Anderson. “It was my day off. Shortly after the post was uploaded people started calling and video chatting me to tell me congratulations. It was just crazy.”
Like Anderson, Pennycooke also takes pride in being a part of the supply community.
“I’m extremely proud to be a Supply Corps officer because I get the opportunity to work with every department and talk to Sailors from every rate,” said Pennycooke. “I like how there’s never a day I’m bored. It’s challenging and very rewarding at the same time.” Both Supply Corps officers and enlisted Sailors value the hard work, teamwork, challenges, rewards and benefits-to-morale their jobs offer.
Both Supply Corps officers and enlisted Sailors value the hard work, teamwork, challenges, rewards and benefits-to-morale their jobs offer.