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News | Aug. 2, 2017

DLA Distribution Yokosuka aids USS Fitzgerald after tragedy strikes

By LS3 DeFaye Bruster DLA Distribution Yokosuka, Japan

Defense Logistics Agency Distribution Yokosuka, Japan, has been working to move critical supplies to support the USS Fitzgerald after a deadly crash that left seven sailors dead and major damage to the destroyer.

On June 17, 2017, the USS Fitzgerald, a destroyer stationed in Yokosuka, Japan, suffered a devastating hit by a cargo ship in the early hours of the morning.  Upon returning to Yokosuka, seven sailors were reported missing, but, as access to all the spaces were gained, they were found in a flooded berthing compartment.  

The following week, DLA Distribution Yokosuka supported a request for emergency shipments of material in support of damage repair and recovery efforts for the USS Fitzgerald.  Extended operating hours were required to prep and ship major items including electric panels, submersible pumps, glove valves, welder tool box and fittings via commercial air from the organization’s site in Sasebo, Japan.  

Joe Pirman, DLA Distribution Yokosuka, Japan, at Sasebo director, said, "At times like this, you will do anything in your power to assist.  The whole team felt a sense of pride and honor to help in the movement of this mission critical equipment.  The sense of accomplishment helped with the emotional feeling of helplessness and sorrow we felt for the USS Fitzgerald sailors and families.”

On June 27, the team also participated in a “Line of Honor,” which honored the crew and families of USS Fitzgerald as they traveled in a vehicle procession from Fleet Activities Yokosuka's Chapel of Hope to the Fleet Theater for the memorial service. 

At around 9 a.m., the streets began to fill with sailors as well as base tenant commands.  DLA Distribution Yokosuka employees attended to salute and pay their respects to the USS Fitzgerald crew and families of the fallen seven. 

To further support those in need, the Commander Fleet Activities Yokosuka community came together to raise money and items for the sailors who had lost mostly everything.