SOUTH CHINA SEA – Logistics Specialist 1st Class (LS1) Jose Huertas hid his shock behind a smile as Cmdr. Tom Ogden, commanding officer of the guided-missile destroyer USS Chung-Hoon (DDG 93), broke the news over the ship’s intercom system that Huertas had won the 2016 Admiral Ben Moreell Award for Logistics Competence.
With a humble smile and look of pride written on his face, Huertas welcomed congratulatory remarks and handshakes from members of the crew as he sat on the ship’s mess deck and listened Ogden’s announcement.
“I was literally in total shock,” said Huertas. “I never considered myself winning an award of this magnitude and prestige. I will never look at this as an individual award because there is no way I could have achieved this alone.”
Given to only two service members a year by the Navy League of the United States, the Admiral Ben Moreell Award recognizes an officer and enlisted person (both Navy and Marine Corps) that made an outstanding personal contribution that has advanced the logistics readiness and competence of the naval service.
“After some unfortunate events in manning, LS1 Huertas eagerly stepped up and instantly produced significant results,” said Lt. Jason Canonigo, Chung-Hoon’s supply officer. “Within days as taking over as acting LCPO [the senior enlisted person], LS1’s mentorship and leadership quickly inspired his team to produce the best command output we have had in two years.”
Leading a team of nine logistics specialists in daily operations across all areas of supply support, Huertas helped Chung-Hoon earn its first ever Blue “E” for Supply Excellence in 2015, and continued that success in 2016 to earn a second consecutive Blue “E.”
“It’s been a big year for us in supply,” said Huertas. “There were a lot of late nights, but it’s all been worth it. I believe I can speak for the entire department, when I say, we just wanted to see the ship succeed.”
During his time aboard Chung-Hoon, Huertas has been able to increase Chung-Hoon’s finances for the Continuous Monitoring Program (CMP) by 25 percent, pushing the ship above the waterfront average. He has also been able to increase outstanding material percentages across numerous areas: stock from 80 to 90 percent, direct turnover from 70 to 92 percent, high money value from 85 to 100 percent and internal material obligation validation from 82 to 95 percent.
“LS1 has been the mastermind behind the smooth transition of all supply parts, hazardous material and mail services,” said Canonigo. “He led the department in earning an excellent score during Chung-Hoon’s Supply Management Certifications [Blue E], and there is no greater logistician more deserving of this award.”
The award is named in honor of Adm. Ben Moreell, known as the godfather of the Navy Seabees, thanks to a 1941 decision that authorized the formation of the Naval Construction Battalions. As Chief of the Bureau of Yards and Docks and Chief of Civil Engineers of the Navy, Moreell’s efforts helped expand the Naval Shore Establishment in the U.S. and he played a vital role in the building of advanced bases overseas during World War II.
Providing a ready force supporting security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region, Chung-Hoon is operating as part of the John C. Stennis Strike Group and Great Green Fleet on a regularly scheduled 7th Fleet deployment.
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