By Lt. Cmdr. Janelle Kuroda, Navy Reserve Civil Litigation
The Navy Reserve JAG community met to discuss the latest developments related to the Navy Judge Advocate General (JAG) Corps May 5-6 at the 2018 East Coast Military Law Training Symposium (MLTS) in Alexandria, Va.
During the symposium, Rear Adm. John G. Hannink, Deputy JAG, and Rear Adm. Carol M. Lynch, Deputy JAG (Reserve Affairs and Operations), addressed more than 300 judge
advocates and legalmen.
The MLTS focused on JAG community priorities and direction in support of the Navy Reserve Force “Ready to Win” (R2W) initiative and the Military Justice Act of 2016. It also included discussions about information dominance, ethics, and leadership. Lynch highlighted the importance of being an effective Reserve force.
“We need to simplify and streamline processes, enable Sailors to effectively provide warfighting capabilities, leverage civilian skills, and utilize available resources,” Lynch said. She highlighted new changes to adapt to an agile force, such as the ability to start and end orders from any location, not just from one’s home of record.
Lynch encouraged the Reserve JAG community to develop innovative solutions and to share ideas and successes so all can learn and improve. “If the ideas don’t work, we’ll adjust, but we won’t be risk averse,” she said. She also challenged officers to “be the conscience of the force,” and to “tell commanders what they need to hear.”
Hannink highlighted the recently launched JAG Link searchable community directory as a new way for the active component to tap into the skillset of the reserve community and encouraged members to complete their profiles through the SharePoint Portal. He also described the role the JAG community plays in the Chief of Naval Operations’ vision of naval power and innovation. Finally, he extended his gratitude to the Reserve JAG community at his last MLTS.
“Over the last three years, I’ve gotten to work with you and your support is critical to the active duty component,” Hannink said. He recognized the unique skill set present in the Reserve community and said the community is a “national treasure.”
Master Chief Legalman Julie Tessmer, Command Master Chief of the Reserve Component JAG Law Program, gave an update on the Reserve legalmen community to attendees. The legalmen received in-depth training on administrative separation boards and heard from Force Master Chief Petty Officer Chris Kotz and Master Chief Legalman Jondell Ritchie, Command Master Chief of Naval Legal Service Command. At the end of her presentation, Tessmer noted it would also be her last MLTS, as she will retire later this year after 23 years in the Navy and received a standing ovation from the attendees.
One of the highlights of the symposium was the announcement of the winners of the 2018 Rear Admiral Hugh H. Howell, Jr. Award of excellence for the East Coast. The awards recognize both individual and unit accomplishments, named in honor of the first judge advocate Reservist to attain flag rank and the first director of the Reserve Law Program.
Lynch presented awards to Lt. Cmdr. E. Ashleigh Schuller Lee of Reserve U.S. Fleet Forces Legal (junior officer), and Cmdr. Aubrey Bobb-Semple, of Reserve Defense Service Office East (senior officer), for their outstanding efforts during the past year. Lee provided vital staff judge advocate support during a short-fused mission, and Bobb- Semple provided rules of engagement training to 900 personnel and received praise for managing his unit as its executive officer.
Lynch also recognized the best active duty supported command, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa-Sixth Fleet Force Judge Advocate for the strong working relationship they have with their reserve unit in support of numerous multinational exercises.
Lynch also presented the award for best Reserve unit to Navy Reserve Administrative Law, which is led by Capt. Phil Fluhr. Lynch praised the unit for its work, including critical support for the Administrative Law Division (Code 13), disaster preparedness support for the Claims Division (Code 15), and assistance on combat disability boards in support of the Legal Assistance Policy Division (Code 16).
During the symposium, Lynch presented Navy and Marine Corps Commendations medals to the Navy Reserve Legalman of the Year, Petty Officer 1 st Class Ricardo Villescascortez, of Navy Reserve Naval Justice School, and the winner of the Delbert Black Leadership Award to Senior Chief Legalman Bradley Earl, who is cross-assigned to Navy Reserve Navy-Marine Corps Appellate Review Activity Government.
To close the symposium, senior officers spent the afternoon with new accessions to the Reserve Law Program. About 30 junior officers gathered to hear advice from leaders on issues such as the reserve structure, work-life balance, and career opportunities.
“The training was a great way to get acclimated to a new phase in my career,” reflected new accession Lt. Thomas Allmond. “I appreciate the openness and helpfulness of the senior officers who took the time to impart practical career management advice.”