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News | Oct. 17, 2018

Globetrotting logistics champion Jerry Brown retires after 36 years

By Emily Tsambiras DLA Distribution Public Affairs

Kuwait, Guam, Italy, Bahrain, Turkey, Germany: Each poses its own unique logistics challenges and, during his storied career, Jerry “JB” Brown tackled them all.

Whether he was managing the NATO Air Terminal in Izmir, Turkey, doubling DLA Distribution Bahrain’s support capability, or establishing support operations outside the Strait of Hormuz, Brown never backed down from a challenge, no matter how geographically difficult or mission intensive, said DLA Distribution deputy commander Twila Gonzales during Brown’s Oct. 10 retirement ceremony.

Honoring his more recent achievements with DLA Distribution’s Business Development directorate, as well as the many accomplishments throughout his 36 year career, coworkers, friends and family gathered to celebrate Brown’s contributions to the Federal government. 

As his mother watched via Skype from Pensacola, Florida, Brown was presented with the DLA Exceptional Civilian Service Award, in addition to the DLA Silver letter, retirement certificate and plaque, DLA flag and a Pennsylvania state flag flown over the state’s capital building.

“Over his last 13 years at DLA Distribution, JB has been all about the Warfighter. He’s ‘plug and play’ in almost any environment,” said Business Development director Joe Faris.

And Brown’s contributions to the Warfighter extended beyond his work hours.

Presenting his wife Lisa with flowers and a spouse certificate, Gonzales thanked the couple for opening their home- no matter where in the world they happened to be at the time- to visitors.  Travelers to Bahrain and Kuwait would count on a warm welcome in an unfamiliar place thanks to the Browns, Gonzales said. 

Their kindness even enabled in a deployed former distribution center commander to watch his daughter graduate from high school from the comfort of the Brown’s living room. 

Sharing his own story of Brown’s hospitality, Faris said “I pulled up to the gate at DLA Distribution Kuwait…Uncle Jerry buys me ice cream!”

“JB is all about the customer. [People will] talk about the work that goes on in the headquarters to set up the global network, but the hard work was done by leaders like JB in theater,” said Faris.

Beginning his career with the United States Air Force in 1973, Brown’s 22-year career in the Air Transportation field included tours as superintendent, transportation plans for the largest C-130 wing in the world at Little Rock Air Force Base; air terminal manager, NATO Air Terminal, Izmir, Turkey; and unit first sergeant assignments at Elmendorf AFB, Alaska. 

Brown retired from active duty in 1995 at the rank of Master Sergeant. 

His Federal civilian career began in September 2002 when he assumed the duties of air cargo manager and air terminal operations officer, U.S. Navy/Air Mobility Command Air Terminal, CTF-53, Bahrain.  During his tenure he was awarded the Meritorious Civilian Service Award from the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy, as well as an Inter-Departmental Award from the Department of State for actions in direct support of Operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom.

He joined the DLA Distribution team in August 2005 as a transportation officer at DLA Distribution Guam, Marianas.

He served as the deputy commander of the former DLA Distribution Kuwait, Southwest Asia, from October 2008 to September 2010, where he was responsible for 600 employees conducting 24/7 operations, managing an inventory in excess of $500 million, and processing over 3,000 transactions daily at the height of OEF and OIF.

He then went on to serve as the chief of Strategic Planning, Strategic Plans Directorate at DLA Distribution headquarters from September 2010 to March 2013, where he was instrumental in the initial establishment of a DLA Distribution capability in Djibouti.  

In March 2013, he joined the DLA Distribution Bahrain team as acting director, a position he served in until July 2013 when he was appointed deputy commander. 

Prior to his final position with the DLA Distribution Business Development, he was a member of the Transportation Policy Team at DLA Distribution headquarters and chief of the Transportation division of DLA Distribution Europe in Germersheim, Germany. 

Brown concluded his career with the DLA Distribution Business Development directorate, where he applied his years of leadership and overseas experience to aid in the development and execution of a long-term growth strategy for the organization. 

Closing the ceremony with a tearful goodbye, Brown addressed the audience saying ‘“Lisa and I have loved being part of this family.  God bless all of you.”