April 29, 2020 – When sailors assigned to Pre Commissioning Unit (PCU) Tripoli (LHA 7), transferred from San Diego to Pascagoula, Mississippi they had no way to know that only a few months later, hundreds of their shipmates would be in a Restriction of Movement (ROM) status. The nature of critical COVID-19 mitigation strategies meant that everyday tasks for Tripoli, such as laundry and meals, were suddenly much more complex. Solutions for these unusual circumstances required a high level of agility and resourcefulness from Navy logisticians, support personnel, and contracted partners.
As sailors from Tripoli were sent ashore for periods of quarantine or isolation, Tripoli’s Supply Officer, Cmdr. Robert Kovack, reached out to a team that included Commander, Naval Surface Force Pacific (N41) and Naval Supply System Command’s Food Service Policy Manager Fleet Support (N432) to craft a viable solution to ensure meals would be available. The result was a Ration in Kind (RIK) ready meal, provided through a local prime vendor.
Tripoli also required specialized (biohazard) laundry services for sailors in ROM status ashore. The team from Naval Supply Systems command Fleet Logistics Center (NAVSUP FLC) Jacksonville Site Supervisor of Shipbuilding Gulf Coast was approached with a request to assist in securing these services. NAVSUP FLC Jacksonville’s LHA Platform manager, Ms. Iris Linder and Site Director, Mr. Lorenzo Solomon, got to work. After facing many hurdles and demonstrating a great deal of persistence, they were able to determine that a local Veterans Health Care System was best positioned to provide the services, but would require expedited contracting actions.
The team worked through the issue using a military interdepartmental purchase process that required joint approval from the parties involved, and resulted in a successful outcome. When asked about the experience, Soloman commented, “We are in a dynamic situation dealing with the uniqueness of COVID 19. During this unprecedented time we had to think outside the box quickly for PCU Tripoli sailors. We all realized the extreme urgency and collaborated across NAVSUP, NAVSEA and Gulf Coast Veterans Health Care System-Biloxi. It’s all about taking care of the Sailors who defend this great nation.”
Thanks to the swift action, Sailors at six different locations throughout Pascagoula will have meals and clean linen delivered to them as they focus on their own personal wellbeing and prepare for a return to regular duty aboard Tripoli.
NAVSUP FLC Jacksonville is one of eight FLCs under Commander, NAVSUP. Headquartered in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, and employing a diverse, worldwide workforce of more than 22,500 military and civilian personnel, NAVSUP’s mission is to provide supplies, services, and quality-of-life support to the Navy and joint warfighter.