Navy Supply Corps School (NSCS) Basic Qualification Course (BQC) 1st Battalion ALPHA and BRAVO Companies recently conducted the Fleet Familiarization Tour (FFT). A restructuring of the previous Saltwater Trip, the FFT provides a Fleet-based enhancement of the first-class NSCS education the students receive.
On average, 71 percent of NSCS BQC students have never experienced Fleet life. In contrast, our Surface Warfare and Nuclear Officer
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Ens. Dylan Hayden, ALPHA Company, inspects the line for Taco Day.
counterparts receive waterfront training at Basic Division Officer Course (Surface Warfare) or Power School and Prototype (Nuclear).
Forty-one 1st Battalion students arrived in Norfolk, Virginia, for six days. During the professional venture, the officers shadowed their Fleet counterparts and worked a Type Commander (TYCOM) approved Job Qualification Requirement (JQR), spanning all curriculums to include leadership and ethics.
In coordination with Commander, Naval Surface Forces Atlantic, host ship assignments were based on platform availability and students’ orders. Guided-missile destroyer Division Officers (DIVOs) stayed on board USS Mahan (DDG 72) and USS James E. Williams (DDG 95). USS Leyte Gulf (CG 55) hosted Cruiser DIVOs. Explosive Ordinance Disposal Expeditionary Support Unit (EOD ESU) and Logistics Support Unit (LOGSU) Officers joined their LPD counterparts on USS Arlington (LPD 24). USS Wasp (LHD 1) provided berthing and shadowing opportunities for the next CVN, Submarine, MCM, COMPSRON, and FLC Officers. Capt. Kurt Kastner, Commanding Officer, USS Wasp (LHD 1), said, “It was refreshing to host the Navy Supply Corps School students on board this mighty warship. They are welcome back at any time.”
Educational enhancement began Monday morning with Khaki Call and Divisional Quarters, followed by an in-brief with the Command Triad. Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday mornings were dedicated to JQR and shipboard shadowing. Each afternoon broadened the engagement with support activities and awareness of future career possibilities.
On Monday afternoon, students met their Fleet support. Naval Supply Systems Command Fleet Logistics Center representatives provided insight into contracting, husbanding services, fuels, integrated logistics support, postal, Navy Food Management Team, Global Distance Support Center, Fleet Assist Team, Navy Cash, Field Examination Group, and SERVMART.
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NSCS BQC First Battalion, ALPHA and BRAVO Companies, at NAVSUP Fleet Logistics Center Norfolk, Virginia.
Capt. Michael Ropiak, Commander Naval Air Force Atlantic Force Supply Officer, began the Tuesday afternoon TYCOM session, followed by Capt. Harry Thetford, Commander Naval Surface Force Atlantic Force Supply Officer. Cmdr. Brian Malloy, Director of Logistics, Afloat Training Group Norfolk, briefed Supply Management Certification and Supply Management Inspection, and Capt. James Lowther, Submarine Force Atlantic Force Supply Officer finished the afternoon.
Tuesday evening provided networking opportunities at the Hampton Roads Supply Corps Association (HRSCA) social. Lt.j.g. Branden Albrecht, stationed aboard USS Mahan (DDG 72) was enthusiastic about the FFT. “It is the best way for students to gain a real world aspect on afloat life. It is definitely beneficial. I wish I would have had it,” he said.
Wednesday was a deep dig into expeditionary logistics, with the morning at EOD ESU 2 and the afternoon at LOGSU 2. Students walked the Boat Shop, Armory, Dive Shop, and PG&I Material Center, followed by briefs on transportation, facilities, equipment, robotics, and LOGSU operations.
Thursday afternoon was spent with Defense Logistics Agency. Capt. Scott Hawkins, Commanding Officer, Defense Logistics Agency Distribution Norfolk, Virginia, provided words of wisdom.
Lt. Cmdr. Chris Mayfield and Lt. Emmanuel Nneji followed with a brief, and finished with a tour of the Material Processing Center (MPC) warehouse at Defense Depot Norfolk, Virginia (DDNV).
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Lt. j.g. Joelle Olsen, Disbursing Officer on USS Arlington (LPD 24), shows Ens. Eric Providakes, ALPHA Company, how to sign up Ens. Daiqu Zheng, BRAVO Company, for Navy Cash.
Ens. Sandra Cmaylo, ALPHA Company, stated “I would not have traded this for the world – this connected the dots.”
NSCS intends to provide the FFT experience for all ensuing Battalions, as long as funding can be successfully secured for the program. The FFT would continue to occur after Orders Reading, providing the opportunity to shadow a similar Fleet operation and return to the schoolhouse with the opportunity to refocus where the student feels less confident. The intangible benefits of this enhanced educational opportunity and significantly increased aplomb in our BQC students are immeasurable. The Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) guides us, in his three tenets, to ensure Warfighting First, that we Operate Forward, and that, as Sailors, we Be Ready. The FFT, as the CNO has asked, “builds the ability to win tomorrow” by preparing our students and reinforcing their education. Reinforcing our students’ knowledge and abilities prior to reporting for their first operational tour will increase the Supply Corps community’s reputation as the benchmark for logistics and ethical excellence.
By Lt. Jami Garrett, SC, USN; Navy Supply Corps School