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Weekend offers region’s Navy supply corps junior officers star-level guidance

The Midwest Regional Navy Supply Corps Reserve Junior Officer Training Symposium held Saturday and Sunday at Scott Air Force Base. Junior officers heard from Navy Rear Adm. Ron J. MacLaren and Navy Rear Adm. Mark F. Heinrich.

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SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. – Reservists who enter into military service via a direct commission have a unique perspective, according to Navy Capt. Lee Gaul, senior Navy Reserve supply officer. “Most became aware of the opportunity to serve while already in a civilian job, and when they choose to become citizen-sailors, they are that much more excited about being in the Navy — they really want to be here.”


Many of these officers choose a career path in the Navy Supply Corps. Gaul serves as part of a liaison officer volunteer community that shepherds direct commission officers through the process of recruitment, evaluation, commission and supply school, ensuring the junior officers “get the care and attention they need early in their careers.”


Part of that nurturing comes in the form of providing opportunities to network with fellow junior officers and to interact and seek guidance from senior officers. Gaul led the Midwest Regional Navy Supply Corps Reserve Junior Officer Training Symposium held Saturday and Sunday at Scott Air Force Base.


Junior officers heard from Navy Rear Adm. Ron J. MacLaren, director, joint contingency acquisition support office, keynote speaker and flag sponsor of the event, Navy Rear Adm. Valerie K. Huegel, deputy commander, Navy Supply Systems Command Global Logistics, Navy Rear Adm. Sean F. Crean, deputy commander NAVSUP, and keynote speaker Navy Rear Adm. Mark F. Heinrich, chief, Supply Corps, and commander, NAVSUP.


“It’s a great honor for these admirals to make time to come to a reserve officer event,” added Gaul. “To see this level of command authority in a caring, mentoring way…these junior officers are branded for life.”


“The open remarks from Rear Adm. Heinrich were impressive as I realized, at that level — the top of Navy Supply Corps — we are all on the same team and there is a foundation for mentoring is at all levels,” said Ensign Wes Borgers, NAVSUP Fleet Logistics Center, Bahrain, Detachment A. “Throughout the symposium, the training promoted necessary insight to my Navy career, developing our fleet and being ready for the fight, building effective and professional relationships, seeking diverse career paths and leveraging collateral experiences.”


While the junior officers learned practical training and insights during daily activities, Saturday evening’s formal dinner offered a historical look back. Said Gaul, “They got a fun slice of Navy tradition by experiencing some of the ceremony one might have seen in Lord Nelson’s navy.”


Scott AFB was selected for a number of reasons, one of which was the two “outstanding” commands with Navy supply billets on base, U.S. Transportation Command and Military Surface Deployment & Distribution Command. According to Gaul, “All supply corps officers are loggies at heart and TRANSCOM is the kingdom seat of logistics for the Department of Defense.” 


The Midwest Regional Navy Supply Corps Reserve Junior Officer Training Symposium is a biannual event, alternating years with the national supply corps workshop. The latter will be held in Dallas in June 2013.


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