So often in life it’s the tragedies that make the front page articles or that are the featured story of news stations. But this is a story about how the Supply Department at Explosive Ordnance Disposal Expeditionary Support Unit 2 (EOD ESU 2) pulled together as a team and achieved goals that proved that anything is possible with faith, dedication, team work, and vision. As I look back on what our department has achieved and what we have to look forward to, I’m certain that this assignment has had and will have the most impact in shaping me as a junior officer in the Supply Corps.
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The EOD ESU 2 Supply Department, front row, from left to right: LS2 Wesley Loveless, LS2 Anthony Alegre, LS3 Harold Gonzalez, LSC Marla Mouton, Lt. Keilyn Thompson, and Lt. Afi Pittman. Second row, left to right: Lt. Cmdr. Mark Milius, CWO3 Scott Mielock, LS3 Brett Godfrey, LSC Tammy Larremore, LS1 Varetta Myles, LS2 Asha Ulmer, LS2 Matthew Radovich, and LSC Charles Stevenson. Third row, left to right: LS2 Tyrone McCoy, LS1 Monhessa Guei, SW2 Phil Franks, and Lt. John Secrist.
Upon completion of the BQC, I reported to the USS Gonzalez
(DDG 66). Like most of my counterparts, I was expecting to go back to sea as the Supply Officer on a small deck when it was time for me to negotiate orders for my second operational tour. Instead, I was offered orders to EOD ESU TWO at Little Creek, Virginia. I never worked with the expeditionary community, so I quickly did my preliminary research to learn more about what to expect. The fact that I had no expeditionary logistics experience wasn’t what scared me. I enjoy learning new things and I can find people and resources to help me reach the goal at hand. What challenged me was having only three months to prepare for the command’s Supply Management Certification (SMC) inspection, in addition to managing the dynamic logistical demands of this community.
The Expeditionary SMC: 100 percent, Full Points
It was not easy, but I found the Sailors in the department were willing to give their all to a strategy that would get us to the end goal of passing the inspection. So I did my best to pull our divisions together as a team. I asked them questions, requested their feedback and empowered them to have a voice in our strategy moving forward. I was so pleased to find that each of my Sailors and fellow supply officers had a wealth of knowledge and diverse experiences that just needed to be harnessed for the task at hand. With that foundation, we began each day with objectives that would help us reach our goal. As a result, our division received an assessment score of 100 percent. My fellow supply officers and their departments also worked hard and received outstanding scores of 100 percent and 97 percent.
“I’ve heard about these types of results, but I’ve never actually been a part of a team that achieved these types of results, until now,” stated Cmdr. Milton Troy, commanding officer of EOD ESU TWO. Cmdr. Troy’s support and mentorship were critical in helping us to see that we had an awesome opportunity to prove that expeditionary logistics at EOD ESU TWO is a way to set yourself apart in the Supply Corps. Lt. Cmdr. Mark Milius, ESU TWO’s supply officer, also provided strategic leadership and vision that was essential in guiding the command in attaining such notable accolades.
Non-Traditional Deployments, Warfare Qualifications, and Leadership Opportunities
The best parts of this tour for junior officers are the deployments and warfare qualification. I’ll be deploying to Bahrain as an N4 department head this fall, and earning my Navy Expeditionary Supply Corps Officer (NESCO) pin soon as well. The set-up of this deployment is reminiscent to me of how Army captains are given command opportunities early in their career. My peers serving as department heads on ships are no doubt facing demanding and hard Supply and leadership challenges. However, my role in this deployment will be similar to serving as an officer in charge over logistics, facilities, maintenance and engineering support for the war fighters with whom we deploy. While this isn’t the traditional role lieutenants fill on their second operational tour, I think it provides a unique leadership opportunity we may not necessarily get serving afloat. As for the NESCO pin, my fellow Supply Corps lieutenants and I – along with our supply officer and our commanding officer – are looking forward to earning the warfare device and answering questions about it. This qualification is still fairly new to the Supply Corps, so we look forward to telling other members in our community about the value of it and the process of obtaining it.
It’s an exciting time to be part of the expeditionary logistics community. I hope we all can look back in five to 10 years and see what those who come behind us have built on the foundation of what we have created. Until then, we will continue to uphold the proud tradition of the Navy Supply Corps at EOD ESU TWO and throughout all of Navy Expeditionary Combat Command.
By Lt. Afi Y. Pittman, SC, USN, Commodity Division Officer, EOD ESU 2