Urgency drives DLA Puget Sound team in maintaining ballistic-missile submarines

By Michael Molinaro DLA Land and Maritime Public Affairs

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The design of the Ohio-class submarine allows the vessel to operate 15 or more years between major overhauls. On average, the submarines spend 77 days at sea,  followed by only 35 days in-port for maintenance, creating urgency for on-shore personnel who must ensure the vessel is ready when called back to action. 

Supporting the Navy's ballistic-missile submarines and their quick in-port maintenance timeline is the Waterfront Expeditor Team at DLA Maritime Puget Sound: Raul Davila, John Slocum, Lida Howard and Benny Myers. They realize it’s vital they work cohesively with each other and other supply agencies to guarantee material arrives on time for the re-fit projects of the subs. That determination reflects DLA Land and Maritime’s overall cultural aspirations — the attributes it strives to attain and embody as an organization.

“If we can’t get the part the shop needs that fit the vessel, that means the vessel isn’t going to meet its timeline and do what it needs to do,” Slocum said. “Urgency is high around here because it’s a short timeframe that we have to get the material so the unit can get scheduled.”

From hoses to gauges to connectors to piping — anything that’s required to manufacture or replace parts on a boat — it’s imperative the team provide material by the quickest means possible to meet time-critical requirements for urgently needed parts, Davila said.

For example, Davila said a seat valve system they needed wouldn’t be available until 2020. With a submarine docked and waiting to deploy in a few days, Davila and the team worked the phones relentlessly until they found a part just down the road at Bremerton, Washington. 

As he worked with the supply specialists to secure the part, the other members coordinated transportation and logistics to make sure the part arrived on time and into the hands of the maintenance crew so they could get it in place on time. The former Army Reservist said his training while in uniform still serves him daily at his job with DLA.

“Understanding the mission-first aspect of the job, I have a good sense of urgency in getting the job done within a team environment,” Davila said. “I feel like we play a great part in national security, making sure these boats are always on the ready and on their way to do their patrolling. I feel good about that.”

Anchored by a strong organizational culture and commitment to performance and transformation, the “DLA Land and Maritime Way” incorporates major tenets updated to represent DLA Land and Maritime’s current focus areas. 

The newly revised DLA Land and Maritime Way pledges to provide warfighter excellence through accountability, teamwork, urgency, agility and innovation built on a commitment to integrity, diversity, and mutual trust and respect. Urgency is something the Waterfront Expeditor Team has excelled at.

Through continued collaboration, innovation and smart investments, DLA Land and Maritime’s workforce continues to be the standard-bearer for joint logistics and acquisition — delivering world-class support to the warfighter.  

Note: This is part of a series of articles highlighting the recently revised tenets of the Land and Maritime Way and the DLA associates who exemplify them. Their collective contributions help ensure the recognition of Land and Maritime’s Warfighter Support commitment endures.