Quarantined on orders: Wisconsin Navy reservist faces COVID-19 setback

Quarantined on orders: Wisconsin Navy reservist faces COVID-19 setback

by Cmdr. Nicolas Melendez
Navy Reserve, Commander Naval Forces Japan, Headquarters

JAPAN — Logistics Specialist 2nd Class Timothy Stoflet, a United States Navy Reservist, assigned to Commander, Naval Forces Japan (CNFJ), from Madison, Wis., experienced a 14-day Restriction of Movement Order (ROM) after arriving in Japan during the COVID-19 virus pandemic.

Stoflet and 25 other Navy Reservists assigned to both CNFJ and Commander, Navy Region Japan (CNRJ), arrived in Japan to support the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) on March 24.

The reservists arrived just as COVID-19 cases began to surge prompting businesses, school districts and other public places around the world to shut down in an effort to slow the spread.

The quarantine will extend the original 28-day mission, adding days of isolation and forcing many Sailors like Stoflet to adjust to life inside the confines of their rooms. Their only contact with the outside world was during the daily deliveries they receive of groceries and other necessities.

Stoflet said the hardest challenge being on lockdown was “isolation and not being able to do simple things like take a walk or explore this unique place.”

Cmdr. Kathleen Gilpin, commanding officer of Navy Reserve Commander, Navy Region Japan, is proud of how her Sailors are handling the restrictions during this uncertain time. “As a combined effort of CNFJ and CNRJ, we’ve seen the team really come together over the past week and a half, despite being physically quarantined in their individual rooms. They have daily PT together (virtually), hotel room cooking competitions, and, most importantly a network of support amongst each other.”

While his family is staying home and doing their part to prevent the spread of the virus, Stoflet said he used Facetime, Skype and Facebook to keep in contact and kept himself occupied with movies and catching up on reading.

He said he came to Japan because he “wanted to make a difference and be on the frontlines in a dynamic situation where most people are electing to stay inside. Having the opportunity to travel to Singapore and work in the Singapore Area Coordinator EOC allows for me to learn new things and adapt to an unfamiliar environment.”

“It takes a special type of devotion to duty to leave your families and employers at home during a worldwide health crisis that’s causing multiple restrictions to routine daily life to go overseas in support of another nation,” Gilpin said. “It’s really a testament to not only the Sailors themselves, but also the families and employers supporting them. It’s a team effort!”

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