JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, HI, UNITED STATES
Story by Daniel Mayberry
Naval Supply Systems Command Fleet Logistics Center (NAVSUP FLC) Pearl Harbor regularly deploys its Navy Food Management Team (NFMT) to train, assist, and technical support all foodservice teams throughout the Indo-Pacific via NFMT Assist Visits.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the NFMT Assist Visits were limited and done primarily through remote means. However, as more Sailors have become vaccinated and preventative measures have greatly reduced infection rates, on-site NFMT Assist Visits are being held at afloat and ashore units in the Indo-Pacific area of operation.
“During COVID, we lost that ability when we switched to virtual means such as Microsoft teams and Zoom,” said NFMT Director, Chief Warrant Officer 4 (CW4) Paul Arboleda, “but our goal is to provide that face-to-face and over the shoulder training as much as possible.”
The USS Hopper (DDG 70) was the most recent vessel to receive an NFMT Assist Visit from NAVSUP FLC Pearl Harbor and was conducted over the course of four days, occurring September 27 – 30. Before the visit, the NFMT briefed with command and their foodservice team leadership to set the scope of the training. Assist visits are required for naval vessels every 24 months, prior to deployments, emergency situations, or within three months following time in the shipyards, although they may be requested anytime.
“Having the team come and help myself as a first-time supply officer was extremely beneficial to my career,” said Lieutenant Dejah Mills-McGee, supply officer onboard the USS Hopper (DDG 70). “I know my team loved picking their brain.”
“Our team has the capability to conduct all kinds of training that include food service management, sanitation, cooking and baking techniques, inventory, and financial auditing, to name a few,” said CW4 Arboleda. “During our visit to the Hopper, we also ‘trained the trainer,’ and our team instructed Sailors from the base on how to conduct assist visits.”
The NAVSUP FLC Pearl Harbor NFMT is made up of culinary specialists, retail service specialists, a food service management analyst, an engineer, and an Army preventive medicine technician, totaling over 100 years of military experience and expertise. They implement “train the trainer” instruction to build future leaders as early as possible.
“We are arming potential leaders with the right tools and knowledge that will give them the flexibility to facilitate any food service or retail training at their own time and pace,” said CW4 Arboleda. “We must also emphasize that training must never stop. From the team’s perspective, we must give our all in training our junior Sailors.”
The NFMT works on a weekly training schedule for assist visits and other foodservice classes and facilitates “train the trainer” at least once a month. Commands may contact an NFMT in their area of operation to learn of further training opportunities available at their local NAVSUP FLC.
“I would recommend doing two command assist visits. One to a supply management inspection (SMI) and another a month or two after the inspection,” said Petty Officer First Class Mandriecka Francis, the leading culinary specialist aboard the USS Hopper (DDG 70). “If the SMC will not happen for a couple of years, I recommend two or three visits a year just to have outside eyes see your operation and let you know where you can make changes.”
NAVSUP FLC Pearl Harbor is one of eight FLCs under Commander, NAVSUP. NAVSUP and the Supply Corps conduct and enable supply chain, acquisition, operational logistics and Sailor & family care activities with our mission partners to generate readiness and sustain naval forces worldwide to prevent and decisively win wars.