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Story by Sky M. Laron
NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka Director of Corporate Communications
YOKOSUKA, Japan – Government of Japan officials honored NAVSUP Fleet Logistics Center (FLC) Yokosuka Master Labor Contract (MLC) employees during a Length of Service Commendation Ceremony Oct. 18 at the Yokosuka City Culture Hall.
Japanese employees who have been with U.S. Forces in Kanagawa for many years will be commended, said Hiroshi Marui, Director of Japan’s South Kanto Defense Bureau.
More than 40 NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka MLC employees were the recipients of 10-year, 20-year or 30-year service awards that reflected their dedication to the Navy mission in Japan and the strong bonds forged amongst Japan and the United States.
"The bond that is shared with our host-nation counterparts in Japan between our two Navies as well as our internal local national workforce is amazing; the professionalism that is shown on a daily basis is the bedrock that we rely on to accomplish our mission,” said Capt. Marty Fields, Commanding Officer, NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka. "The MLC employees at NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka often stay with the organization for several decades and are the subject matter experts in what they do, offering the stability and continuity that is beyond measure.”
Hitomi Tobe, a 20-year Service Commendation Award recipient and NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka Command Evaluation Management Analyst, echoed similar sentiments, stating that MLC service is extremely important for continuous operations and support for all U.S. commands in Japan.
Operation Tomodachi, the joint U.S. and Japanese humanitarian effort following the 2011 Tohoku Earthquake, Tsunami and subsequent Fukushima Nuclear Reactor Disaster most recently highlighted the strong partnership between the United States and Japan.
“I realized the significance of the MLC workforce during the 3/11 disaster,” said Tobe. “Due to the preparation of voluntary evacuation of U.S. employees, many departments in the organization were supported by MLCs.”
Tobe added, “MLCs were reticent without a murmur and focused on completing the tasks and requirements in a chaotic environment.”
The work is critical for mission success but Tobe loves the intercultural interaction that working on a U.S. Navy base exposes her to the most.
“We have many different cultural groups on base and there are many opportunities to be exposed to their cultures and languages,” said Tobe. “I can learn something new everyday.”
Masami Minami, a 30-year Service Commendation Award recipient and NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka Fuel Department General Manager, also appreciates being exposed to the differences in culture, personalities and view points but most of all the people themselves.
“I am a very lucky person because I have had the opportunity to work with great leadership and talented coworkers my entire life, which includes bosses, seniors and coworkers I have met along the way and gave me the chance to work at the Fuel Department,” said Minami. “I love fuel!”
Minami, who started out as a Maintenance Mechanic Assistant in 1982, is proud of the mission support the MLC workforce provides at all times, especially his accident and incident free workspace within the Fuels Department.
As the Western Pacific region's largest U.S. Navy logistics command, headquartered just 26 miles due south of Tokyo, the NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka executes on a mission to serve the Asia Pacific Region’s forward deployed maritime warfighter with 24/7 operational logistics support integrating an extensive service provider network to deliver not only fuel but material, mail and supply chain services across the U.S. Navy’s largest geographical area of responsibility.
With such a critical mission supporting the warfighter right up to the tip of the spear, it is the NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka MLC workforce that continues to provide knowledge and experience to their U.S. counterparts and Fleet customers.