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Maritime Logistics Community News : Summer 2011
39 NAVY SUPPLY NEWSLETTER SUMMER 2011 Casual observers were left grasping for a suitable collective noun recently at Al Minhad Air Base (AMAB), in the UAE, where surely the largest grouping of Supply Officers ever assembled outside of the annual Supply Community Mess Dinner recently met. It is a well-known fact that the RAN is taking over many roles previously undertaken by Army or RAAF personnel in Joint Task Force 633 (OP SLIPPER). What is less well-known is how many are Supply Officers. LEUT Meagan O’Loughlin temporarily escaped from the freezing Canberra winter to fulfil a five week ROCL relief role as a Watchkeeper in the HQJTF633 Joint Operations Room. Clearly 633’s gain was HQJOC’s loss as Meagan promptly settled in to this Maybe Any Branch role. In contrast to Meagan’s cameo appearance, LEUT Luke Dennard is just coming to the end of a very demanding 8 1⁄2 month rotation with the Force Support Unit (FSU). The FSU provides the entire gamut of logistics enablers to units throughout the MEAO, and supports individuals from RSOI at the commencement of their deployment to closing out their pay files at the end. Luke was centrally located in the very busy Ops Plans role where he became a JMAP expert and a key source of advice and assistance on how to get logistics things done in the MEAO. Luke downplayed the importance of his own position, and emphasised how valuable he found the role: “It’s been an excellent opportunity working in a tri-service environment”. In addition to the single Navy logistician in the FSU this unit manning structure also includes Writers and Stores Naval sailors. CMDR Chris Forbes is deployed to the MEAO as part of the Middle East Logistics and Base Support (MELABS) contract transition team. This contract will supply base services at AMAB and numerous logistic services across the MEAO. LCDR Steve Alchin is the RANLO - Middle East leading a small team of Supply specialists (LEUT SU, CPOSN and LSSN), based in Bahrain, who provide support to the deployed MFU and the Maritime HQ element embedded in the MEAO. Finance and Logistics in HQJTF633 are also in safe Navy hands. The J05 (Finance Adviser) CMDR Graham Falls has just completed his deployment keeping theatre finances in order. The J4 (Logistics) CMDR Greg Swinden is responsible for the biggest ‘shop’ in the HQ, including stores support, movements and maintenance support. Assisting him is the J43, LCDR Linda Morris who maintains close liaison with the FSU ops team and the S4s in the major units in the MEAO to resolve logistics issues on a day to day basis. When queried on the apparent anomaly of maritime loggies in the land-based environment she stated “Navy logistics training actually sets us up really well to work in the Joint logistics environment. Because our realm of responsibility is so broad at sea, we are quickly able to adapt to the range of different elements of logistic support in theatre.” Last, but not least, is CAPT Simon Ottaviano who has recently taken up the key appointment of Chief of Staff in HQJTF633, and has six months ahead of him keeping the flow of information moving in and out of the headquarters. Clearly the MEAO is in good hands with the RAN Supply Community so heavily involved. This snapshot provides just a sample of the range and breadth of operational positions Navy Supply Officers can fulfil. When coupled with the number of Supply Officers in key joint logistics roles in planning and current operations at HQJOC, it seems to suggest that the future has a very distinctive ‘purple’ streak. The continuum of sea roles provide us with a fantastic base skill set that is in demand across the ADF. Further professional training and education is available to Supply Officers who are interested in Operational logistics postings including Joint Logistics Planning, Joint Warfare, Capability Technology Management College, Australian Staff College, as well as Intermediate Logistics courses within Army and RAAF. To truly shape the future, Supply Officers should embrace the chance to apply these skills in joint roles and should not hesitate to pursue opportunities to undertake joint training when these arise. Pussers in the Middle East A plethora of Pussers? A swindle of Supply Officers? Or just a whole lot of White Mafia? BY LCDR LINDA MORRIS, RAN From left: LEUT Meagan O’Loughlin, LEUT Luke Dennard, CMDR Chris Forbes, CMDR Greg Swinden, CAPT Simon Ottaviano, CMDR Grahame Falls, LCDR Steve Alchin, LCDR Linda Morris.