Virginia Beach resident helps in COVID-19 fight

June 5, 2020
kat simons

A resident of Virginia Beach, Virginia, and a civilian Navy employee in Norfolk, Virginia, is serving in Norfolk as part of the Department of Defense’s response to COVID19.

Aviation Electrician's Mate 1st Class Gregory Stoeger, a Navy Reserve sailor, has been on active duty since March 21. He is working at U.S. Fleet Forces Command.

Stoeger is in the Navy Emergency Preparedness Liaison Program and trained in Defense Support of Civil Authorities (DSCA).

“I am assigned to USFF to provide information support to forward deployed NEPLOs who are helping to coordinate COVID19 response,” he said.

His civilian job is realty specialist for Navy Facilities Mid Atlantic.

As part of his deployment, Stoeger has participated remotely in the activation and deactivation of USNS Comfort (T-AH-20) and USNS Mercy (T-AH-19), Navy Emergency Medical Facilities activations and relocations, Javits Center staffing, and frequent interagency coordination.

Stoeger is extremely proud of the work he has done as part of the Department of Defense team responding to the nation’s call for assistance.

“At the end of the day, when I see news reports on TV about medical supplies and equipment, food, ships, etc., moving into locations to help those in need – and I know I contributed to that happening – well, that makes it all worthwhile and reminds me of why I am here,” he said.

At the U.S. Fleet Forces Battle Watch NEPLO desk, he helps to run a 24/7 operation monitoring numerous chat sites and portals. He supports the briefing of flag level officers and senior level leadership on missions involving Navy and Department of Defense assets, monitors and prepares mission critical message traffic.

Stoeger also answers numerous phone calls and responds to information requests from the field as well as from the battle watch captains on the floor.

“I review many documents, including daily situation reports submitted by NEPLOs in the field, for information that may need the attention of NEPLO senior officers as part of their briefings,” Stoeger said.

Additionally, he manages and updates the NEPLO Laydown and Tracker sheets, which show the location and planned arrival and departure dates of NEPLOs in the field. This helps leadership maintain continuous situational awareness of who is coming and going as part of COVID19 response efforts.

The NEPLO program consists of 138 Navy Reserve personnel highly trained in DSCA. Most are senior officers. During natural and man-made disasters, NEPLOs assist in providing Navy resources where it counts.

Department of Defense personnel conduct joint missions through DSCA, but civilians are always “in charge.”

“When disasters exceed a state’s ability to respond, the DoD is often asked to support, and that is where NEPLOs jump-in,” said Capt. Steven Stacy, NEPLO Deputy Commander.

“Our team has a unique set of skills not replicated by the active duty Navy. We possess the know-how to get Navy resources and capabilities into the fight,” he said.

In the past, NEPLOs have deployed to assist with hurricanes, earthquakes, and wildfires. They stand ready, trained, and prepared to answer the call when needed.