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NEWS | Jan. 4, 2022

Profiles in Professionalism: Logistics Specialist 1st Class Hermilo Simon

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jonathan Word

We live in a world run by logistics. It’s important that materials and supplies get to where they need to be, or else production would come to a standstill. Without the appropriate equipment and tools being in the hands of our workforce, nothing would get done. At Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, the U.S. Navy’s only permanent base in Africa, that is simply not an option.

With the monumental task of feeding, sheltering, and supplying over 5,000 Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines, Camp Lemonnier needs a world-class supply department and a world-class supply department needs world-class Sailors like Logistics Specialist 1st Class Hermilo Simon, a Navy Reserve Sailor from Norfolk, Va., currently deployed to Camp Lemonnier where he is assigned to the procurement division of the supply department.

“It’s a different world out here,” says Simon. “It’s the same supply chain, but you have to think outside the box. Every department has needs and if you can’t fill them, then really nobody can do their job.”

This is Simon’s first mobilization as a Navy Reservist. He says that his department is one of the best logistics shops he has ever had the pleasure of working in and he has found himself in a position of leadership while on deployment.

“He is currently filling a Chief’s role,” says Lt. Cmdr. John Lina, the supply officer in the Camp Lemonnier procurement department and Simon’s immediate supervisor. “So far, he has risen to every complex challenge that I have presented to him. I would say that he is a very mature Navy Reservist who is wiser beyond his years.”

Before becoming a Navy Reservist, Simon served nearly six years as an active-duty Sailor. He says the Navy was able to help him achieve his goal of completing his master’s degree in education with a concentration in mental health counseling. After completing his education, Simon was ready to step into his civilian career, but he was not ready to step away from the Navy.

“I did fall in love with logistics,” says Simon. “It’s very customer-oriented and still in line with what I do in the civilian world. You are still talking with people; you interact with them and meet new people. I like that aspect of it. I like helping.”

From his fellow Sailors he met while attending the Navy Individual Augmentee Combat Training, a program Reserve Sailors attend prior to deployment, to everyone he has met on Camp Lemonnier, Simon says the bonds formed in his service are the most rewarding aspect of his Navy career. He is an active member of the camp’s Diversity Team, the E6 Committee and the Command Resiliency Team.

“I am a very people-oriented person,” says Simon. “I like to be part of groups; it is one of the things that has kept me in the Navy. We’re seeing how we can better Camp Lemonnier and here you know what your direct impact is.”

When looking at the job of a Logistics Specialist, the first thing you may see is spreadsheets full of order tracking numbers, shipping invoices, or stacks of boxes ready to be sent out, but Simon sees each service member behind the supplies he is providing them with.

“Whether it’s the galley or the special forces,” he says. “They all have supply needs, and that’s what we do.”

Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti (CLDJ) serves as an expeditionary base for U.S. military forces providing support to ships, aircraft and personnel that ensure security throughout Europe, Africa and Southwest Asia. The base enables maritime and combat operations in the Horn of Africa while fostering positive U.S.-Africa relations.