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NEWS | Aug. 27, 2021

Profiles in Professionalism: Lt. Cmdr. Justin Lafeen

By Leslie Hull-Ryde, Military Sealift Command Far East

“Ready now. Anytime. Anywhere.”

That’s been the longstanding motto of the U.S. Navy Reserve Force.

For Reserve Sailors, it’s more than a mantra.

When Military Sealift Command (MSC) Far East needed a supply officer to support Talisman Sabre 2021, a large-scale, bilateral military exercise between Australia and the U.S. advancing a free and open Indo-Pacific, Lt. Cmdr. Justin Lafeen answered the call.

Lafeen had just wrapped up a stint in Australia when MSC Far East sent out the requirement for a Reserve supply officer to orchestrate and lead shore-side logistics during Talisman Sabre. He was uniquely positioned, having extensive experience from working throughout the region for several years.

“It was a good example of what the Reserve force is all about – being where we need to be, when we need to be there and with the necessary training to provide value in fulfilling active requirements,” the Salt Lake City native said.

“Our mission as Navy Reservists is to ‘provide strategic depth and deliver operational capabilities,’ which means we not only individually fill emergent requirements in the force – fill any gaps or shortfalls – but we also collectively enhance and expand the capability of our Navy,” said Lafeen.

While Talisman Sabre was Lafeen’s first assignment with MSC, he said Reserve Sailor possess skills and experiences which help complement the needs of the Navy, wherever and whenever they may serve.

“Reservists bring versatility and a wide vision across multiple operational perspectives,” he said. “Reservists are able to be true utility players who can enhance the expert operational cadence of their active duty counterparts.” 

Lafeen believes Reserve Sailors have a unique perspective, drawing from their civilian experiences that can be shared with active-duty counterparts, enhancing Sailors’ skills and exchanging lessons learned from corporate experiences that help achieve the mission.

Similarly, Reservists can provide a bridge between the military and civilian employees by sharing with civilian colleagues their insight on the missions of the U.S. military and government.

Lafeen gained a great deal of experience and operational knowledge during his 11-year been Navy Reserve career. While serving on active duty, he ultimately determined the Reserve force was the best way to quench his desire to continue to serve in some way.

“After doing my research, I decided that the Navy Reserve was the right place for me,” said Lafeen. “And the Supply Corps was the perfect fit given my education and experience. I am grateful for the opportunity to serve.”