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News | March 26, 2019

With the clock ticking, teamwork gets a ship underway

By Cory Angell, DLA Distribution Public Affairs

Navy Lt., SC, Willard Trefren with Defense Distribution Susquehanna Pennsylvania was one of many that got a desperate call for help; get us this part fast or the USS James E. Williams will not be underway in time.

“It was a high priority requisition form,” said Trefren. “Essentially there are some things that a ship has to have up and running or they can’t go out to sea.”

Having once been assigned DDSP Mechanicsburg where the part was stored, Trefren knew the on-site team, but didn’t know where the part was or who had access to it. It was somewhere in one of 30 warehouses totaling 3.5 million square feet.

“Basically, I had to use the phone tree and start calling the people who I know can help,” said Trefren.  “The people who can always get you a resolution, even if it’s late Saturday afternoon.”

With the clock ticking Trefren was able to get the location and gain access but now the next challenge: shipping services are closed and the part has to leave now. It has to get there the next day (Sunday) so it can be installed and the ship can get underway Monday.

“The hero is Dyan Hooper a program manager with Weapon System Support Mechanicsburg,” Said Trefren. “She delivered it to the ship in Norfolk.  You don’t find too many people with that kind of dedication.”

Hooper was in Pittsburgh and the first to get the call that a generator part was needed for the ship.

“When I talked with the generator mechanics they explained they needed it fast because they needed time to install and test it,” said Hooper. “Luckily someone had Lt. Trefren’s number and he started problem solving while I drove back from Pittsburgh.”

Hooper said the shipping deadline for the next day had passed and there was no way to get the part shipped even if they found it. It would turn out Trefren found the part in two hours and was able to transfer it to Hooper.

“I thought to myself, its six hours away; my husband spent 25 years in the active Army and my brother is an Army Reservist. If these mechanics don’t get this part they will fail in their mission. I couldn’t let that happen.”

Six hours later she handed the mechanics what they needed.

“They were able to replace it test it and the ship got underway in time,” said Hooper. “When you think about what our service members do; they deserve that kind of support.”