News | June 7, 2022

DLA COVID-19 Task Force member wins Navy League logistics award

By Nancy Benecki

Navy Lt. Cmdr. Hugh Wilson is the winner of the Navy League’s Admiral Ben Moreell Award for Logistics Competence for his work with the Defense Logistics Agency’s COVID-19 Task Force.

He will receive the award during the Navy League’s National Convention June 8-12 in Orlando, Florida.

Wilson was called to active duty from the DLA Joint Reserve Force in May 2018. He first worked as a current operations branch chief for the Agency Synchronization and Operations Center before being assigned to the COVID-19 Task Force. He later transitioned to a civilian role with the agency as a joint logistics planner in the ASOC.

The Navy League gives the Admiral Ben Moreell Award for Logistics Competence annually to one enlisted member and one officer in the Navy or Marine Corps who helps advance logistics readiness and competence.

Lee Dvonch, who led the DLA COVID-19 Task Force from March 2020 to June 2021, nominated Wilson for his work in developing the Defense Department’s COVID-19 Vaccine Common Operating Picture.

Dvonch said he’s thrilled that Wilson’s leadership and innovation are being recognized.

“DLA started tracking COVID-19 vaccine shipments with the same clunky, manual spreadsheets and PowerPoints that are essentially unchanged from 20 years ago, and that resulted in a lot of challenges with data timeliness and visibility across DOD,” Dvonch said.

Wilson led the development of a real-time, automated information platform that stored data in one location so shipments could be tracked, allowing military and federal planners and customers to see relevant information, Dvonch said.

“Information was always a big challenge,” Wilson said. “DLA collects a lot of information in a lot of different logistics systems. But pulling that all together into one common-sight picture was really challenging, especially when what information senior leaders needed in that sight picture changed as the mission and the requirements changed.”

Wilson said the 80 members of the task force and the 40 additional representatives throughout the agency are all responsible for its success, particularly because of their flexibility. 

“The whole team was really good at shifting on the fly as things changed,” Wilson said. “The flexibility of everybody who was assigned and the willingness of folks to work outside of their normal comfort zones helped. It was great to work so closely with such a great group of people on a mission that mattered so much.”

He said this work will go down as a personal career highlight.

“There's probably been times in my career where I’ve thought, ‘Why are we doing this? What's the mission impact here?’” he said. “But we could really see, as members of the task force, the impact every day because we were helping to support vaccines get delivered to DOD personnel who were spread throughout the globe. We could see the personal protective equipment was getting into the hands of the people who needed it. So it really was rewarding from that perspective, from a mission impact perspective.”