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Navy Supply Centers Contribute to Tsunami Relief Effort

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS050114-17
Release Date: 1/17/2005 3:40:00 AM

By Ron Flanders, Fleet and Industrial Supply Center San Diego Public Affairs

SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- Three Fleet and Industrial Supply Centers (FISCs) in the Pacific area of operations are providing logistics support to the international humanitarian relief effort in the areas affected by the tsunami disaster in Southeast Asia in December.

The FISCs in Yokosuka, Japan; Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, and San Diego began preparations within hours of receiving their marching orders from the Naval Supply Systems Command (NAVSUP).

The global reach of the FISCs can be a big help to a fleet or a joint task force when an unexpected event like a tsunami occurs. The rapid response of FISCs Yokosuka, Pearl Harbor and San Diego played no small part in the Navy's piece of what is a multinational, multiservice operation.

"Our FISCs were uniquely positioned and equipped for this humanitarian mission," said Rear Adm. William Kowba, commander, Fleet and Industrial Supply Centers. "We have a global presence, and a trained team of military and civilian logistics professionals. The dedication and hard work displayed by our team at FISC San Diego, FISC Pearl Harbor and its detachment in Guam, and our forward FISC in Yokosuka, validated the COMFISCs (Commander, FISC) vision."

FISC Yokosuka, the Navy's forward supply center in the Pacific, provided manpower to assist with the Navy's massive logistics operation, which is headquartered out of the Navy Regional Contracting Center in Singapore.

FISC Yokosuka sent three officers, with expertise in fuels, contracting and transportation to the headquarters to support the humanitarian relief efforts. In addition, FISC Yokosuka also sent six enlisted supply personnel with specialties including fueling operations, requisition processing and transportation to assist in the effort.

FISC Pearl Harbor's detachment in Guam was in the right place at the right time when the Navy's disaster assistance task force sprang into action. USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6), the flagship of Expeditionary Strike Group 5, which is a key asset in the relief operation, and USS Duluth (LPD 6) pulled into Guam on a short-notice port visit to get supplies. FISC Pearl Harbor's Guam detachment handled all of their logistics requests, assisting the ships in getting ready to conduct large-scale relief operations in just five days.

Additionally, FISC Pearl Harbor coordinated loadouts of USNS Concord (T-AFS 5) and USNS Niagara Falls (T-AFS 3) with tsunami relief supplies.

On the mainland, FISC San Diego was tasked with a major piece of the humanitarian relief effort, getting the hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) ready for sea in five days, which was no small task considering that the ship received the order to deploy on New Year's Eve - a Friday.

Essentially, FISC San Diego got an empty hospital and helped turn it into an operational one through the hard work of its Logistics Support Center, contracting department and fuel facility. Logistics support representatives orchestrated the loadout of humanitarian relief supplies, medical supplies and the onload of 294 pallets of provisions, which was performed by FISC San Diego's Inter-Service Supply Support Operations department.

FISC San Diego also provided Mercy with postal equipment, stamps, forms and priority mail equipment, to provide the hospital ship with an operational post office. FISC San Diego's assist teams helped get the ship's galley, ship's store, laundry facilities and ATMs up and running by inspecting facilities and providing training to ship's crew members.

Key to the effort to get Mercy under way was the contracting department, which worked to provide critical supplies for the relief mission, including surgical implants, vitamin supplements and 12,600 one-liter bottles of water. The contracting officers also ensured that two critical information technology representatives were contracted to ride with the ship and support the hospital's patient records software. Most of the requirements were submitted to the contracting office at the end of the day and were needed the next day.

"I am so proud of my contracting team, I'm speechless," said James Browley, director of FISC San Diego's Operational Forces Support division. "We had people here missing their trains, carpool arrangements, working all hours to get this hospital under way. It is not every day that we get a chance to support a humanitarian effort like this. It makes your heart feel good."

Finally, when it came time to get under way, FISC San Diego's fuels department provided more than 1 million gallons of diesel fuel to the massive hospital ship.

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