COLUMBUS, Ohio –
When Defense Logistics Agency Director Army Lt. Gen. Darrell Williams addressed the audience at Defense Supply Center Columbus during his first Town Hall as DLA director, he was in familiar territory.
In July, 2012 he’d conducted his final Town Hall as DLA Land and Maritime’s commander from the same stage, and his return five years later brought with it a renewed commitment to the agency workforce.
“I realize that in addition to our strategic plans, it takes individuals doing an outstanding job to make the mission happen,” Williams said. “I assure you that the values I brought to Land and Maritime are the same ones I’ll do my best to emulate at the agency level.”
Many of the nearly 500 audience members at the July 20 event inside the DSCC Operations Center had worked with the director during his time commanding Land and Maritime. Included in that group were two associates he recognized for their many years of service.
Ruby Blackhurst, a Land and Maritime contract specialist, has worked for DLA since 1977 and Thomas Burton, a quality assurance specialist, has worked in federal service for more than 45 years. Williams presented them each with a service award and thanked them for their dedication to warfighter support.
He presented Superior Civilian Service Awards to James Wagner, a DLA support team deputy commander, and Derrick Dewitt, an administrative officer with the support team. Both men represented DLA at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait as part of Operations Spartan Shield, Inherent Resolve and Freedom’s Sentinel.
Williams also introduced a new award concept he calls the DLA Director’s ‘Ya Done Good’ Certificates of Achievement to recognize associates for their outstanding contributions to the agency.
Marie Conrad, senior command support specialist, Steve Webster, installation site energy manager and James McClaugherty, deputy commander of DLA Land and Maritime all received the inaugural ‘Ya Done Good’ awards.
McClaugherty served as Williams’ deputy commander at Land and Maritime and was honored at a retirement ceremony earlier that day. McClaugherty leaves the agency after 47 years combined military and federal civilian service, with more than two decades at Land and Maritime.
Williams spoke highly about the reputation of Land and Maritime, including the eight Commander in Chief’s Awards for Installation Excellence the installation has earned since 1995. He presented a collage of photos taken during his tenure at Land and Maritime alongside pictures from his recent promotion to Lieutenant General. He thanked the audience and credited them with his career success.
“In all honesty, my time at Land and Maritime is what I refer to as my professionalization as a military logistics general officer,” he said. “I owe that to many of the people sitting in this room and the people who helped me develop as a professional.”
Williams introduced his new senior enlisted advisor, Navy Command Master Chief Shaun Brahmsteadt and commended him for being the first Sailor to serve in that position in the agency’s history. Brahmsteadt assumed the role following Army Command Sgt. Maj. Charles Tobin’s retirement July 12.
Earlier in the day Land and Maritime leadership took Williams and Brahmsteadt on a familiarization tour of the installation, highlighting many of the changes that have occurred in the past few years.
DSCC has undergone several major developments in its perimeter security and infrastructure. The main entrance was repositioned to a more secure location to improve force protection, and construction of a new visitor center has streamlined the issuance of passes and identification badges.
An area near the installation’s main Building 20 was a simple grass field during Williams’ time as commander from September 2010 to July 2012. Now, the area features fitness trails and houses an array of naval and ground vehicles on display in a manicured section called “Mission Park”.
The physical differences at the Columbus installation represent just some of the changes since Williams last represented the agency. During a Question and Answer session at the conclusion of the Town Hall, Williams responded to a query about how the agency is adapting to logistics and supply demands on a potentially volatile world stage.
“I have a great deal of confidence in the agency and I know that we are well postured to respond to our global demands,” he said. “We’re continuously improving our support capabilities and our ability to refine our supply chain efficiencies, but ultimately our strategic goal is unchanged – to always put the warfighter first.”