News | April 22, 2022

Employee Reflection: Robert O’Hagan

Disposal Service Representative, Fleet Activities Sasebo, Japan

A man poses in front of a harbor.
Disposal Service Representative Robert O'Hagan, Fleet Activities Sasebo, Japan.
A man poses in front of a harbor.
220421-D-D0441-4322
Disposal Service Representative Robert O'Hagan, Fleet Activities Sasebo, Japan.
Photo By: Courtesy photo
VIRIN: 220421-D-D0441-4322
Tell us a little about yourself.

I was born and raised in California, where I met my wife. Having raised four of our five children to adulthood, we are ready to spend time traveling. The opportunity to work in Japan has given us a jump start on this goal. I became familiar with DRMO after joining the California Army National Guard and starting my career in logistics. Took a 13-year break from service as DoD civilian, during which time I served 8 years on active duty which included an 18-month tour in Afghanistan. I also worked as a contractor in Afghanistan for two years and was tasked with closing an information technology site. In addition to normal and mundane turn-ins, I twice had to conduct massive multi-million dollar turn-ins to DLA Disposition Services. I became familiar with the process and procedures because of the excellent support and service I received from the Disposal Service Representatives and receivers. When it came time to return to the civilian workforce, there was no doubt in my mind where I wanted to work. Now a DSR myself, I strive to provide the same high level of service and interaction that I received when I was the warfighter.

Describe your current position.

Advise and assist the warfighter and their support agencies in preparing and coordinating turn in/disposal of excess property and shipment of hazardous material. Command Fleet Activity Sasebo has a small footprint, but a large mission supporting both homeport and transient ships, I help expedite the turn-in process so that the warfighter can focus on repairs, resupply, and returning to their mission.

How long have you worked for the federal government, including military service?

28 years.

How long have you worked for DLA Disposition Services?

Five years.

Agency memory that stuck with you?

Sitting in a bunker in Bagram, Afghanistan, after a mortar hit just on the other side the wall where we were lined up to escort locally contracted trucks loaded with scrap. Thinking, “Where else can you work that you are issuing scrap release MROs one minute and the next scurrying for safety?” For a few moments, no one was [divided] by nationality, we were all just people, humbled and thankful to be alive.  

What aspect(s) of your current job gives you satisfaction?

Hearing feedback from the generator: “This process was easier than I have been told it would be.” There is nothing easy about the turn-in process, when the generator finds that the process is “easy,” it means as an agency we did our job well by providing the generator tools like the Digital DSR and good old fashioned customer service.

Good advice worth passing on?

Don’t press SEND without reading twice. If you are frustrated, don’t press SEND without reassessing your intent, step away, if necessary, delete and start over.

What training and education helps your work performance in your current role?

In person, hands on, task-based exercises conducted as a team. For example, when PABs with Labs is instructed at the training warehouse in Battle Creek.

What would you say has been your major contributions to your organization this year in your job?

Reducing frustrated property being sent from the collection site in Sasebo to Iwakuni.

If you could speak directly to the warfighters you support, what would you tell them?

Have you heard about the Digital DSR? It’s like Google, but better.

Where are you in five years?

Placing my name placard on the desk once belonging to Arthur Welsh. Well, maybe not in five years, but that is a goal.

Something most people wouldn’t know about you.

Before going into the logistics career field, I studied in college to become an actor. I have a “don’t blink or you’ll miss it” appearance in the movie Deep Impact and got to work for a few days on set with Clint Eastwood for the movie Letters From Imo Jima.

Fun agency memory?

The RTD specialist in Iwakuni, Eiko Nakatsui, worked very hard coordinating the sale of three mid-size U.S. Navy boats. I got to enjoy the fruits of her labor, I handled the handover of the property, so I got to ride on the towing vessel that delivered to property to the Sasebo port. You can’t do a good Jack Dawson impression without getting your feet wet. I ended up the King of Soggy Shoes, but it still qualifies as a best memory.   

What was your first job?

Baking biscuits, shredding cabbage, and pressure frying chicken at KFC. Still haven’t lost the 40 lbs.

Big influences?

Andrew Lopez, Property Management Branch Chief out of San Antonio. He has a very special approach and skillset dealing with personalities. Just one of the many things he has taught me is that you can spare some productivity time to get know your co-workers. Take a few moments each day to ask someone how they are doing. If they share, take interest in their personal challenges.

Any good books you recently read?

Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs? – by Caitlin Doughty. 

What is your favorite quote?

“Measure twice, cut once.” Applicable to many situations.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

Actor.

Heroes?

Fictional: Batman. Real: Those who stand up for those who cannot stand up for themselves.

If you could do anything for a day?

Have a security clearance high enough to access government files to verify if alien technology exists – and if I have unknowingly disposed of any of this property. Of course, I can’t tell you if it has or hasn’t happened.   

A thrilling/adventurous thing you’ve done?

Tandem jumped 14,500 feet from a perfectly good airplane, strapped to one of the Army’s Golden Knights over Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona.