Demil training a success in New Zealand

By Jake Joy, DLA Disposition Services DLA Disposition Services

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DLA’s Pacific region disposition pros made the journey to remote New Zealand in early April to help train New Zealand Defence Force personnel on demilitarization technique and policy.

Pearl Harbor-based Operations Director Jon Mitsuyasu and Operations Specialist Johnny Lee spent a few days with engineers and equipment experts at Devonport Naval Base in Auckland, where they observed and instructed during demilitarization of a fire control system used aboard naval ships. They also worked with NZDF staff on development of a draft demil surveillance plan and standard operating procedures for similar equipment demilitarization needs set to take place during upcoming fleet frigate re-fittings in Canada in May.

“What impressed me the most was the dedication they showed toward developing a demil program to match or rival ours one day,” said Lee. He added that the trainees had constant questions, shared their concerns and wanted to closely examine how the U.S. military handles demilitarization. He said it showed that they were “trying to mirror our methods as closely as possible.”

Lee said the group toured local scrap facilities and discussed how the NZDF could potentially minimize its demil costs through residue sales. Lee and Mitsuyasu also counseled personnel on proper demil coding, certificate completion, and understanding certifier/verifier responsibilities.

Chris Calvert directs disposal operations for New Zealand’s naval fleet. He recently sent a letter expressing thanks to the U.S. embassy, U.S. INDO-PACOM and DLA Disposition Services and he reported that all of the NZDF’s hoped-for training goals were met.

“The NZDF is highly appreciative of [Jon] and [Johnny’s] assistance in the task,” Calvert wrote. “Over a five-day period, they provided accurate and valuable teaching, and very practical advice over a number of training exercises. … I believe that both NZDF and DLA gained a great deal from the interaction and I am sure we will reach out to DLA again in the future.” 

New Zealand is about the size of Colorado, with the approximate population of Kentucky. The UN-member nation was declared independent from England shortly after WWII and its military has served alongside U.S. warfighters during the Korean War, the Gulf War and in Afghanistan. The trip marked the third time in the past five years that DLA Disposition Services personnel provided training there, and the first time in a hands-on, non-classroom setting.