Many shipboard Sailors may be asking themselves “Where have all the personnelman gone?”
For an answer, one only needs to look within a newly renovated warehouse one block off Pier 10 at Naval Station Norfolk.
The Personnel Support Detachment (PSD) Afloat Atlantic (LANT), now well established under the Personnel Administrative Support Systems (PASS) network, is the first to implement the afloat concept. In addition to Norfolk there are PSD Afloat detachments in Charleston, S.C.; San Diego; Sasebo, Japan; Yokosuka, Japan; Everett, Wash.; Pearl Harbor; and Mayport, Fla. The detachments handle all U.S. Navy shipboard commands worldwide.
“The changes support the chief of naval operation’s Optimal Manning Initiative, and by supporting the ships we are reducing our manning afloat. [We're] leaving the warfighters on the ships and getting the support functions off the ships.” said Lt. Cmdr. Bryant Kohut, officer in charge for PSD Afloat LANT.
Prior to being officially named PSD Afloat LANT in 2004, the command began as Pay and Personnel Afloat Detachment (PAPA DET) in 1999. After 2001, the detachment slowly implemented one ship after another with full audits being performed on all service and pay records as they were brought to the command.
PSD Afloat LANT currently services all 49 of the Mid-Atlantic Region ships at Norfolk and Little Creek except for the aircraft carriers, which are expected to be added incrementally starting in 2008. They also provide services for four destroyer squadrons and one amphibious squadron. This means at the present time there are more than 21,000 records being handled by a staff of 165 personnelmen and two yeomen who provide all pay and service record needs.
One of the ways that the PSD has brought better customer service is by utilizing the team concept. All teams are broken into five groups of approximately 30 personnelman, assigned to handle about 10 ships or squadrons.
“Our team members work together, each bringing their own prior experiences and skill sets to the team, making us more knowledgeable in our rating and providing a higher quality service to the fleet,” said Personnelman 2nd Class Billy Spillers, PSD Afloat LANT.
On the ship, Sailors with PSD issues contact one of their two assigned Personnel Liaison Representatives (PLR) who works with both the Sailors and their PSD team until the issue is resolved.
“As a team we are able to focus on our 10 ships and have a closer relationship with our PLRs aboard the ship, this allows for our PLR shipmates to be more productive,” adds Spillers.
“A ship can go out to sea and not always have connectivity or e-mail capabilities. At PSD we always have that. This adds a new level of confidence to processing pay and personnel documents. Service members or their dependents, ideally, should never have step foot into the detachment,” adds Kohut.
By Mass Communication 2nd Class (SW/AW) Leslie Tomaino, Fleet Public Affairs Center Atlantic