Ken MacNevin, DLA Disposition Services Public Affairs
A Navy Reserve officer with Defense Logistics Agency Disposition Services was one of five Navy Supply Corps officers selected for the 2013 Vice Adm. Robert F. Batchelder Award.
Navy Lt. j.g. Justin Lafeen was recognized for his service in 213 as the officer in charge at DLA Disposition Services’ Bagram Airfield site in Afghanistan. He has been assigned to the DLA Disposition Services expeditionary disposal remediation team headquartered in Salt Lake City for more than three years.
The award is presented annually by the Navy League.Navy Rear Adm. Jonathan Yuen, commander of Naval Supply Systems Command and chief of the Supply Corps, said the award goes to “Supply Corps officers who made significant contributions to the supply readiness of our operating forces.”
A senior instructor for the Oracle Corporation in civilian life, Lafeen said the high point of his time in the Navy was his 2013 deployment to Afghanistan.
“After Sept. 11, 2001, I knew I needed to do something to serve,” he said.
Lafeen said he thought about that again on Sept. 11, 2013 as he was flying across Afghanistan on a Blackhawk helicopter.
“I’d never thought I would be there, and it all just came together for me,” he said.
Lafeen recalled one special occasion during his deployment. He was chosen to brief Assistant Secretary of Defense Alan Estevez during a visit to a forward operating base. An image of the event shows Lafeen talking with Estevez and others, including an Air Force lieutenant general and an Army brigadier general. He said he was nervous that day.
Lafeen said good people helped him be ready for all sorts of challenges. He credited his first commander, Navy Capt. Jon Watson, with getting him off on the right foot.
“[Watson] really taught me the ropes, being an officer and how to lead, how to be a servant leader,” he said.
Lafeen’s commander in Afghanistan, Navy Cmdr. Darin Perrine, kept him moving forward, he said.
“I don’t think I’ve ever met another person more invested in ensuring success for those who work for him,” Lafeen said.
DLA Executive Officer Navy Capt. Joseph Noble, who commanded DLA Support Team Afghanistan during Lafeen's deployment, cited the team’s work when he nominated Lafeen for the award. He wrote that the team created a “new joint capability” and that it would “provide continued savings to the American taxpayer, and ultimately it will continue to save lives of convoy-assigned service members, both here in Afghanistan and in future conflicts.”
Lafeen credited the team in Afghanistan for the award.
“We really had a great team,” he said. “We had 96 joint military, civilians and contractors working toward a common goal.”
Lafeen is the second DLA officer to earn the Vice Admiral Robert F. Batchelder Award. In 2011 it went to then Lt.j.g. Eric Mills, who now works for DLA Disposition Services Pacific as a civilian leader.
Navy Lt. j.g. Justin Lafeen (third from right) speaks to Alan Estevez, assistant secretary of defense for logistics and materiel readiness, about equipment sorting operations during a May 2013 visit to Forward Operating Base Shank, Afghanistan. Lafeen was selected for the 2013 Vice Adm. Robert F. Batchelder Award in recognition of his efforts in Afghanistan. Photo by Army Sgt. Bob Yarbrough