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News | April 17, 2019

DLA Distribution Yokosuka, Japan Celebrates 20 Year Anniversary

By By Dawn Bonsell, DLA Distribution

DLA Distribution Yokosuka, Japan, celebrated 20 years of dedicated service to the Warfighter with a series of events held April 5, including an official anniversary ceremony with remarks by guest speaker Mr. Yoshinori Wada, chief of the Yokosuka Defense Office for the Japanese Ministry of Defense. Navy Cmdr. Allen Rivera, Commander, DDYJ also spoke and an official memorandum of recognition from DLA Distribution Commander, Rear Adm. Kevin Jones, SC, USN was read in Japanese to the audience. The celebration included an employee appreciation day with events throughout the day including a tug of war, a plaque presentation to the DDYJ Operations Division as the fiscal year 2018 Safety Division of the Year and the official crowning of the Packing Section as softball tournament champions.

“I’m very proud of the service you provide to the warships of the Carrier Strike Group forward deployed to Yokosuka, the Expeditionary Strike Group forward deployed to Sasebo, U.S. naval vessels transiting the 7th Fleet Area of Responsibility, as well as Department of Defense industrial shore commands and Joint customers located throughout the region.  In addition, I would like to recognize that DLA Distribution Yokosuka is an integral player in contingency plans for war scenarios in the Far East,” said Jones in his memo.

Jones went on to applaud DDYJ’s customer support—stating it has a reputation that speaks for itself.  In 2001, the Sasebo detachment provided unprecedented support to Operation Tomodachi, a United States Armed Forces humanitarian assistance operation to support Japan in disaster relief following the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami.  DLA Distribution Yokosuka Japan, Detachment Sasebo was the focal point for the logistics support of Navy efforts for the operation.  The workloads across the Sasebo operations surged on the week following the devastating storm, including urgent outgoing shipments of pump units and generators from Sasebo to Misawa for further transportation to Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant.  Despite a 378 percent increase to total workload, all work was completed with a 100 percent on time delivery rate and zero safety mishaps.  The 40 folks at the Sasebo detachment stepped up to the plate and without complaining, performed magnificently.  That says a lot about you as a workforce and your commitment to the Warfighter.

More recently, in June 2017, when the USS Fitzgerald collided with ACX Crystal, a Philippine-flagged container ship, about 80 nautical miles southwest of Tokyo, DLA Distribution Yokosuka’s Preservation, Packaging, Packing and Marking team built 12 special boxes to house the USS Fitzgerald's propellers for shipment to the repair site in Mississippi.  This request required an extreme amount of ingenuity and skill.  The asymmetrical shape of the propellers presented a unique challenge when designing the packaging and building the wooden boxes.  Because of the urgent nature of these requirements, each order represented an extremely heavy workload that had to be accomplished within a short period.  The DDYJ team not only successfully completed the task and met the required deadline; they continued to exhibit a can-do spirit and a willingness to go the extra mile.

Jones expressed his gratefulness to DDYJ for the individual and collective efforts that have driven DLA Distribution Yokosuka’s organization to become world class. “I extend my personal thanks to the entire DLA Distribution Yokosuka workforce for 20 years of outstanding support.  Our facilities are impressive—but it’s the dedicated workforce that understands the importance of this mission, who care about what they are doing to support the Warfighter, and executes that mission every single day.  I’m extremely proud of how this organization continues to meet every challenge, find innovative ways to decrease costs, and set new levels of excellence … all while establishing audit readiness,” said Jones.

The ceremony concluded with kagami-biraki, a ceremony performed at celebratory events in which the lid of the sake barrel is broken open by a wooden mallet. Kagami refers to the lid of the sake barrel and biraki means “to open” so kagami-biraki literally means “opening the lid.” Because of the lid's round shape, the kagami is a symbol of harmony. The kagami-biraki, therefore, represents an opening to harmony and good fortune.

As the largest distribution center outside of the continental United States, the distribution center in Yokosuka is strategically located to serve customers in the Western Pacific and Indian Oceans.  Hand-in-hand with the detachment locations in Sasebo, Iwakuni, Okinawa and Yokohama North Dock, DDYJ provides unwavering support to the Joint Forces.