Navy Reservists are given the opportunity to execute unique missions that are not only challenging, but extremely exciting and rewarding.
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Lt. Cmdr George Lawton (left) and Lt. Charles Elliot at the Commander in Chief's Inaugural Ball
One example is Active Duty for Special Work (ADSW) with Commander, Navy Installations Command (CNIC), serving on the Joint Task Force-National Capital Region (JTF-NCR) during the Commander in Chief’s Presidential Inauguration. The opportunity to serve the President of the United States during this high profile ceremony was an once-in-a-lifetime memorable experience for those selected to serve on JTF-NCR.
As a Navy Reservist, I had the opportunity to serve with JTF-NCR as the Logistics Officer. With more than 20 years of management experience coupled with an MBA in supply chain management, and nine years as a Navy Supply Corps Officer, I employed the fundamental skills I had acquired over the years to execute the mission. Additionally, I used the knowledge I gained from previous Reserve assignments with New York Fleet Week. I was selected for ADSW with JTF-NCR based upon my supply officer experience along with the civilian occupations in which I demonstrated the skill sets needed to successfully execute the Navy’s role in the Inauguration.
Execution of such a large scale event requires advance planning; up to one year before Inauguration Day. It is important to incorporate logistics in the early planning phases. Six months prior to the ceremony, my responsibilities included
selecting, credentialing, and transporting the Navy support element consisting of 985 Sailors and civilians. During the selection process, each individual was vetted and credentialed to ensure the most suitable candidates were chosen. Throughout the mission, I worked closely with JTF-NCR Supply Department, and together, we implemented a Navy support element movement timetable for 28 buses and 10 vans. We also teamed with the United States Secret Service, Capitol Police and other local Law Enforcement Agencies to ensure efficiency and a timely arrival of all Navy personnel at various locations on the big day.
One of the most visible aspects of the Logistics Officer’s job was to ensure smooth transitions during the Inaugural Procession. On Inauguration Day, prior to entering the secured zone, all participants had to go through the security screening. The game day challenge was to get all support sections to their assigned locations at their scheduled times. The scheduling was directly associated with the way each section was going to align in the procession. A Logistics Operating Center was staffed to track the movement of each Navy vehicle. To ensure vehicles were progressing on schedule, a support representative reported their location at predetermined checkpoints. Based on the timetable, if a checkpoint call was not received as scheduled, I would engage the specific vehicle and provide guidance on how to adjust accordingly.
There are unique opportunities for Navy Reservists willing to go outside the box. You can do more than the required drills of one weekend a month and two weeks annually. The chance to serve as part of the President's Inauguration not only directly led to the success of that event, it met my individual professional development goals, and truly showcased the capabilities of our Navy Reservists.
By Lt. Cmdr. George Lawton, SC, USNR