An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

NEWS | Oct. 14, 2022

Profiles in Professionalism: Yeoman 1st Class Jie Chen

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jonathan Word

On Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti (CLDJ), the only permanent U.S. base on the continent of Africa, the N4 supply department supports nearly all installation operations. N4 ensures the vehicles on base have fuel, the ships pulling into the nearby port can resupply, the 27 tenant commands have the supplies they need to do their jobs and the over 5,000 deployed service members on camp receive their mail and have food to eat.

Camp Lemonnier's N4 supply department helps every service member on base accomplish the mission. Yeoman 1st Class Jie Chen, a Navy Reserve Sailor from New York, serves as a key driver behind the success of N4’s people and processes as the department’s administrative leading petty officer.

“She keeps everything running smoothly in this office,” said Senior Chief Logistics Specialist Wendy Castleton, N4 senior enlisted leader and Chen’s immediate supervisor. “We would not be as on-track as we are without her here. On this installation, we have procurement, the post office, the galley, fuels, the hazmat yard, cargo and customs. YN1 makes sure the process for incoming and outgoing personnel goes smoothly and people feel welcomed. She really is an asset.”

Many Sailors have a unique story about their decision to serve in the Navy and the path they took along the way. Chen’s Navy story could only begin after she made another momentous decision in her life: the decision to leave China and move to the United States.

“I graduated from college in China,” said Chen. “My major in China was English education. I was supposed to have been an English teacher if I had stayed. I thought, maybe with my English, I could just go to the states and see how it is.”

Chen came to the U.S. in 2011 and found herself living in New York City, where her aunt and uncle lived. She only stayed there for a short time, however, because she wanted to see what the rest of the country was like.

“I joined the military one year after I moved to the states,” said Chen. “In New York, there is Chinatown, and usually when people come (to the U.S. from China) they just stay in Chinatown, sometimes for a few years, sometimes forever. I did not want to stay there. I wanted to see the entire United States and have real experiences. In the Navy, you also get to go on a ship and see the countries you pull into. That is why I joined the Navy.”

Chen served for four years on active duty, and she has served for over four years in the Navy Reserve. She voluntarily deployed to Djibouti, where, according to her Shipmates, she provides a positive impact to the Navy’s mission readiness every day.

“YN1 Chen is absolutely vital to our department,” said Cmdr. Mark Kuntze, CLDJ supply officer. "There are a lot of moving parts here, and I could not do my job as the commander of this department if it wasn’t for her. YN1 is the alternator that keeps the team’s personnel engine running, and we could not get from point A to point B without someone like her."

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.