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Military Sealift Command Public Affairs
May 30, 2020

The BIG3 Deliver On-time Mission Essential Services, Amid COVID-19 Crisis
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By LaShawn Sykes

NORFOLK, Va. (May 30, 2020) – When you think of NBA trios, the BIG3s, who comes to mind? I pick the 1995-1996 Chicago Bulls, 72-win season, with Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, and Dennis Rodman. What made this trio a winning combination is simple. First, they each played their roles on the court to perfection. Jordan was the premier scorer and perimeter defender. Pippen was the point forward who ran and defended the ball exceptionally well, and Rodman, known as the King of the Boards, was revered for his heart, hustle, and hard work. Second, their mental toughness to stay focused and in the moment, despite facing tough times, was second to no team.

Championship-caliber trios are not just in sports; they are also found in the workplace. Does your workplace have a Jordan, Pippen, and Rodman on its roster – individuals who on their own are great but become greater assets for the organization when they are able to blend their individual talents and personalities to the combined talents and personalities of the team’s? Individuals who are able to jell together under normal circumstances and stick together like glue amid a crisis, like COVID-19.

My BIG3 pick goes to Marine Transportation Specialists (MTS) Dean Doolittle, Scott Denney, and Lawrence Dowsing. Watching this trio run Military Sealift Command-Atlantic’s Jacksonville port (JAX) office in Florida is reminiscent of watching Jordan, Pippen, and Rodman run the triangle offense; a seamless strategy in basketball that when executed well is poetry in motion.

The trio’s seamless strategy of combining their individual talents and personalities to that of the team’s has annually paid off in spades at JAX’s 24 hours a day, 7 days week operation, supporting a variety of ships from several MSC programs: Combat Logistics Force, Prepositioning, Strategic Sealift, and Special Mission. Supported by the consistent contributions of their administrative staff, the BIG3 had a phenomenal 2019 season, servicing 25 MSC ships, which included a load of 6,271 pieces of an estimated 907,370 square feet of military vehicles, aircraft, and equipment. JAX’s total annual square footage is close to 16 NFL football fields.

While the loading and unloading of massive equipment and rolling vehicles has its challenges, the bond they share is never taxing, Doolittle said. “The fact that we are all retired Marines, with 70 years of military experience between us, and now MSC civilians at JAX, with a combined total of 23 years of experience, has been the driving force behind our continued success and enduring friendships.” Both Denney and Dowsing also contribute the team’s success to the trio being “like minded, mission orientated, and dedicated self-starters.”

If you haven’t figured it out yet, Doolittle, Denney, and Dowsing are three of MSCLANT’s frontline heroes. They are the mission critical employees who continue to report to work in order to keep Jacksonville’s port office afloat during the COVID-19 crisis that has swept the nation in 2020.

Unlike many Florida residents who were ordered on the 3rd of April to stay at home by Governor Ron DeSantis in order to slow down the spread of the virus, this trio has continued to press on, placing the mission first and above all else.

When asked where his mental toughness comes from Denney said, “My active duty military experience in combat zones has made working during these trying times easier to deal with. Being able to focus on the task at hand and the problems associated with each task, keeps my mind centered on things other than COVID-19 at all times.”

Doolittle agrees with Denney, and adds that his faith is the driving force that keeps him grounded and levelheaded. “It’s true. There are days when it is difficult to remain focused while facing a pandemic; but, my faith in the Lord and in my teammates, Scott and Lawrence, gets me and us through those tough times.”

The BIG3’s focus and faith has kept their 2020 season on pace with their last. Although the final totals will not be tallied until the end of the fiscal year in September, the trio continue to represent MSCLANT, supporting the loads of four preposition ships, three large-scale army movements, and one ship delivery to Pensacola, Fla., to date.

To maintain the safety of their staff and the office, the trio remains in strict adherence to the basic safety procedures directed by Military Sealift Command. Denney said they are currently working towards only having one staff person in the office at a time, particularly when the port is tasked with a 24-hour operation. “Masks and gloves are worn when dealing with ships directly; and when conducting face-to-face meetings, there is at least a six feet separation between participants, when possible.”

Doolittle, Denney, and Dowsing are high performers who are fearless when it comes to doing what it takes to succeed as individuals. By combining their individual talents, they are able to achieve greater success in the workplace, leaving an indelible mark on the Marine Transportation Specialist profession – A mark that is setting the standard for excellence for the next crop of trios to follow.

MSC has hundreds of personnel from various disciplines who daily serve as mission essential personnel. Doolittle, Denney, and Dowsing represent three.

Doolittle, 53, comes from Detroit, Mich., best known for the BIG3 auto manufacturers –General Motors, Ford, and Fiat Chrysler. He retired from the Marines as a master sergeant in 2008. After 24 years of military service, he joined MSC’s Jacksonville’s port office, where he has served as the MTS team lead for the last 10-plus years. When asked why he joined MSC he said, “It is another way to serve the nation and be a part of something that is bigger than me.”

Denney, 51, is a true Floridian; his hometown is in Titusville. He retired from the Marines as a Chief Warrant Officer Four in 2011. After 23 years of military service, he began his second career in 2011 as an MTS at Jacksonville’s port office. When asked why he joined MSC he said, “Having challenging work while still being close to my hometown in Titusville is important to me.”

Dowsing, 63, hails from Holly Springs, Miss. He retired in 1997, after 23 years of service with the Marines at the rank of master sergeant. Next, he worked at the Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Center in Illinois before joining MSC 13 years ago, four of which have been at JAX as an MTS. Dowsing said he continues to serve at JAX because he enjoys working in transportation logistics.

The Jacksonville port office is located at the Marine Corps Supply Facility. There the trio support Mayport and Mobile Navy bases and the Navy Fuel Depot in Florida.

MSCLANT’s mission is to exercise operation over MSC afloat forces that provide ocean transportation of equipment, fuel, supplies, and ammunition in the Eastern Atlantic to sustain US forces worldwide. The command also provides logistics support to US Navy’s Second Fleet. The command is represented by six geographic port offices. In addition to JAX, there is Beaumont in Texas, Charleston in South Carolina, Naval Weapons Station Earle in New Jersey, Port Canaveral in Florida, and Sunny Point in North Carolina.

For the most accurate and up-to-date information on COVID-19, go to https://www.coronavirus.gov/; to see the Navy specific guidelines on COVID-19, go to https://navylive.dodlive.mil/2020/03/15/u-s-navy-covid-19-updates/.

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