YOKOSUKA, Japan – Every year around 300 reserve Sailors are activated and embark aboard the 7th Fleet flagship, USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) to help support various exercises and operations alongside the Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet (C7F) staff.
Reserve Sailors usually report to a Naval Operational Support Center (NOSC) one weekend every month and serve at least 14 consecutive active-duty days every year. C7F reserve Sailors often provide twice that amount, averaging more than 30 active-duty days and providing an aggregate total of more than 4000 days of support per year.
Included in those 300 reservists is Deputy Commander, Rear Admiral Ted LeClair.
“Part of the mission of the reserve forces we like to say is to provide strategic depth and capability,” said LeClair. “I think it’s important to have the best of the best out here to work.”
7th Fleet Staff reserve Sailors are all supplemented in a centralized NOSC in Texas.
By having a dedicated detachment of reservists readily available, C7F can surge augmentees when necessary, said Senior Chief Operations Specialist David E. Bailey, the Maritime Headquarters Readiness and Training Deputy Lead Chief Petty Officer. Surge scenarios would include meeting excess requirements for exercises with partner nations.
Serving at an afloat command, reservists are able to gain valuable experience while at sea.
By deploying to a sea going command we are able to stay shipboard, and get underway on warships which the average reservist does not see, said Bailey. This is why I joined the Navy. I wanted to get underway, serve in a high operational tempo command, and be part of protecting America's interests.
Reservists also bring knowledge and skills that they’ve learned from outside to the military to help with the mission of 7th Fleet.
"Our reserve shipmates are unique assets to our organization because they have more than just their in rate knowledge. They also have their civilian job expertise that comes along with them," said Chief Operations Specialist Rose Thibodeaux, an active duty 7th Fleet Sailor. "We had a reservist who was able to help troubleshoot a unique computer issue due to his civilian IT expertise.”
Reservists are activated to support forward deployed shipboard operations, events, exercises, and man watch floors for C7F. Their total support includes over 1500 sets of orders and includes operational readiness training stateside prior to forward deployment annually.