COLUMBUS, Ohio –
The director of the Defense Logistics Agency Land and Maritime’s “Mighty Land” directorate closed out his military career Feb. 16 after 27 years of service. Army Col. Yee Hang reflected on his career during his retirement ceremony at the Defense Supply Center Columbus, where he spent the last three years leading Land Supplier Operations.
Former Defense Logistics Agency Land and Maritime Deputy Commander Jim McClaugherty gave the keynote address, recounting significant milestones in Hang’s career.
“For all but a privileged few, the elevator to success is out of order and that requires most of us to take the stairs one step at a time,” McClaugherty said. “I believe that metaphor aptly captures Colonel Hang’s career. But the fact is we all know he’s an incredible ultra-athlete and that gives us a hint to how effortlessly he’s taken those stairs to success.”
Hang’s parents immigrated to the U.S. with their young children after fleeing Laos in 1976. They settled in Richville, Michigan, and built a life for their family. In high school, Hang began planning his path into the military with the encouragement of his high school physics teacher.
An exceptional student, Hang attended the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and received his commission as an Armor officer in 1991. His first assignment took him to Korea to serve as an Armored Cavalry platoon leader. He spent the next nine years in operational assignments that took him to Fort Carson, Colorado, and Germany, as well as a deployment to Bosnia.
In 2000, Hang transitioned to the Army Acquisition Corps and became a logistician.
“Some might questions that career move – after all, logistics is seldom glamorous like operations and certainly has its critics,” McClaugherty said. “But, as all of us in this room realize and as anybody who’s been in a fight especially knows, how much gear you have is irrelevant. The big question is how much of it works. And that’s where we loggies and Yee Hang came in and spent his next 18 years.”
Hang’s acquisition assignments included two key leadership and command positions with the Army Tank Plant in Lima, Ohio, a senior position with the Defense Contract Management Agency and two assignments with DLA Land and Maritime. He also deployed to Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan.
McClaugherty continued, adding, “We’ve been the beneficiary of Yee’s demonstrated superior skills for the last 18 years as he helped us generate the greatest military capability history has ever known.”
DLA Land and Maritime Deputy Commander Steve Alsup credited Hang’s family with aiding in his success throughout his illustrious career.
“As every military member knows, there’s no way you could do what your country asks of you without the support of your family,” said Alsup, recognizing the efforts of Hang’s wife, Kindra and three children, Nathan, Jonathan and Katherine.
Several presentations followed McClaugherty’s address, including certificates presented by DLA Land and Maritime senior leadership to Hang and his wife.
DLA Land and Maritime military personnel presented Hang with a shadowbox displaying the American flag, ribbons and medals Hang earned throughout his career.
In a nod to his time as an Armor officer, former Lima Army Tank Plant colleagues presented him with a bronze statue of Saint George, the patron saint of mounted warriors.
A slideshow of Hang’s career assignments marked various milestones and highlighted instrumental people in his life – many of whom were in the audience.
Following the slideshow and presentations, Hang took to the podium.
Hang – known for his use of the “Three B’s” in public presentations: Be Brilliant, Be Brief and Be t – exchanged brevity for length in his retirement remarks, as he thanked the many who made his military career possible – from the high school teacher who encouraged him, to the many Soldiers and civilians he served with along the way.
“A good friend once told me that the retirement ceremony is not about me,” Hang began. “Rather, it’s about recognizing all the people who got me to this point.”
Comparing his 27-year career to his passion of running long distances, the ultra-athlete said, “It’s been a marathon blessed with some truly amazing people.”
Hang praised his parents, wife and children, “for without them none of this would’ve been possible.”
Addressing his parents, Hang said, “You left everything that you knew and you came to a strange country with eight small children with nothing but what you could carry. You instilled in us the value of honest, hard work…you’re role models that I hope someday I can measure up to.”
“Kindra, my best friend, you’ve always been my biggest supporter. When I was lost, you were my rallying point. You’re the center of our family, and you keep me grounded and humble,” Hang said.
Addressing DLA Land and Maritime for the last time in uniform, Hang thanked the members of the Land Supplier Operations team for their enthusiasm and dedication to putting the mission first. He also thanked his “right arm,” Land Supplier Operations deputy director Linda Johnson, for her support and patience over the years.
“In the Army, we don’t say goodbye. Instead, we say ‘I’ll see you on the high ground.’ So whether it’s on the running trails somewhere in Columbus or somewhere else around the globe, I’ll see you on the high ground.”
Hang’s next challenge will be a cycling trip across the U.S. He aims to complete the trip from California to Georgia in 27 days – averaging 113 miles per day. Associates can visit our website to follow along on Hang’s journey and see updates from his trip.