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News | Oct. 31, 2019

Local Pennsylvania Rotary Club visit to DLA Distribution highlights growth, technology

By Ed Shank, DLA Distribution Public Affairs

Much has changed since retired Army Col. George Connolly was assigned to the Defense Logistics Agency Distribution Susquehanna, Pennsylvania, more than 30 years ago. 


The agency’s role in supporting Department of Defense operations and humanitarian assistance grew dramatically beginning with Operation Desert Shield in 1990 and continued through now more than 18 years of military deployments in support of the Global War on Terror. Warehouses at the New Cumberland facility have expanded and become much more automated. Global positioning satellites now make tracking cargo more detailed than ever.


Now in his 80s, Connolly is a member of the Harrisburg-affiliated Rotary Club of the West Shore, who visited DLA Distribution for a command overview and tour of DLA’s Eastern Distribution Center. Connolly says he was impressed with what he saw but adds, while technology has evolved, he’s happy to see that the mission and focus of DLA employees has stayed the same.


“You can see that change being activated in new buildings, new facilities, new ways to do things,” Connolly says. “It’s updated, they’ve made a lot of changes, they’ve expanded quite a bit, yet there are still things that are pretty much the same since back then. But you put the old with the new and you get a lot of improvement and of course that affects the operation because it makes it easier for everybody.”


Charles Cenkner, another member of the Rotary Club, says the EDC has grown quite a bit since his last tour more than 20 years ago.


“Compared to my last visit here it has made an amazing transformation,” Cenkner says. “To me it’s an evolution that really has matured. The big question in what is the facility going to look like five or 10 years from now? Because things move much quicker today than they did 10 or 20 years ago.”


Connolly and Cenkner say that visits from civic groups like theirs is an essential part of community relations for both organizations.


“The more people you have like us that carry your message out to the community and spread it among families and other business professionals is helpful,” says Cenkner.


Connolly agrees, adding, “The scope of DLA’s operation is not just here it’s all over the world. And it’s what gets to our troops in the world that makes them so effective at what they do because they’re supplied through this type of operation.”