Story by Donna M Cipolloni on 06/26/2019In its first year participating, NAVSUP Fleet Logistics Center Norfolk det Patuxent River, has been awarded the Commander, Naval Air Forces' Blue E Supply Excellence Award, presented to commands that provide exceptional supply management support.
The award, based on a combination of monthly effectiveness reports and a multiple-day Supply Management Inspection (SMI), is given after careful evaluation of supply and materiel management, including finances, inventory control, warehouse support, and the management of aviation-related repairable components.
"We support all aviation activities on base," said Dan Gardner, site director at Pax River. "That includes shipping, receiving and warehousing. We'll issue squadrons aircraft parts when they fail, we'll have parts inducted to the Fleet Readiness Center for repair, and we also provide fuel to the entire base."
Along with Deputy Site Director Scott Jaques, Gardner oversees 105 employees, a combination of Sailors, civilians and contractors; and it took Gardner and Jaques making a formal request before Pax River was approved for participation in the award.
"The difference between Pax and the rest of the Navy's air stations is that the [Aviation Support Division] and the Supply Department here are NAVSUP-run," Gardner explained. "Everything else is run from Commander, Naval Air Forces and this is their award."
While Pax would be visited, they were never graded for their performance and were the only air station in the Navy not looked at for the Blue E award.
"So me and Scott, along with leadership in Norfolk, drafted letters and sent info up to COMNAVAIRFOR to request to be able to be considered for the Blue E," Gardner explained. "It took six to eight months for them to say yes, but once they did, they put us on the inspection list and we had our first SMI. As a result, we scored an outstanding,' which is the highest you can get. That led to Pax's first ever Blue E."
In addition to the SMI score, the award also considers monthly effectiveness reports, and Gardner already has his sights set on another Blue E award next year.
"We look at metrics; we run them monthly, and we look to see where we're at," he said. "If we notice any type of decline, we do what we need to do to raise it up. The best part about chasing the score is that we're focusing on our customer service. If my folks are doing exactly what they're supposed to do, then we're getting parts in and providing service to the customer, the fleet and the warfighter and that's exactly what we're here to do."
The Supply Division provides support to NAS Patuxent River, including NAVAIR; Naval Test Wing Atlantic; Fleet Readiness Center Mid-Atlantic; Aviation Support Equipment FRC Solomons Island; Flight Test Squadrons HX-21, UX-24, VX-1, VXS-1, VX-20, VX-23; Presidential Helicopter; and U.S. Naval Test Pilot School. They manage an aircraft parts inventory of 13,000 line items valued at $131 million and provide fuel support to the entire Pax River complex, managing 3 million gallons of aircraft fuel.
In recognition of the award, the Supply Division will receive a plaque, a flag to fly, and can proudly paint a blue E on their building.
Gardner, however, says winning the Blue E award is more about his personnel than anything else.
"It's a true testament to them," he added. "When we [gained participation in the award], we stood in front of them and told them they'd be the ones to do it. We didn't dig or push, we let them handle it. We got the ball rolling, but they were the ones who picked it up and ran with it and that's what makes me happy about the whole thing. It's all about the Sailors and civilians who are part of this workforce and how well they did."