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News | Nov. 18, 2021

Troop Support honors former employees, commanders at Hall of Fame ceremony

By Mikia Muhammad DLA Troop Support Public Affairs

Family, friends, and former colleagues of Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support Hall of Fame’s newest inductees gathered for a ceremony in their honor Nov. 5 in Philadelphia.

Seven honorees were recognized from the Classes of 2017, 2019, 2020 and 2021, respectively, in a consolidated event, due to previous postponements related to mission obligations and COVID-19 social distancing limitations:

  • 2021: Former Commander Army Maj. Gen. Mark T. Simerly
  • 2020:
    • Former Medical Director of Customer Operations retired Army Col. Donald A. Buchwald
    • Former Subsistence Deputy Director Thomas Daley
    • Former Subsistence Tailored Vendor Logistics Specialist Joan T. Hewes
  • 2019:
    • Former Process Compliance Director Geraldine M. Cromley
    • Former Subsistence Customer Account Specialist Deborah A. Sinno, inducted posthumously
  • 2017: Former Commander retired Army Maj. Gen. Steven A. Shapiro

DLA Troop Support Commander Army Brig. Gen. Eric P. Shirley officiated the ceremony and said he was honored to recognize the respective contributions the inductees made to the organization.

“Because this award reflects such a great body of accomplishments, we’ve determined to honor the inductees in a first-class event here in our world class headquarters,” Shirley said.

Established in 1994, the DLA Troop Support Hall of Fame honors former military and civilian employees who’ve made significant long-term contributions to the organization or provided outstanding customer service and an exemplary work ethic during their tenure.

“The legacy of DLA Troop Support Hall of Fame inductees has shaped what the organization is today: a supply chain logistics powerhouse … agile and innovative in global support to warfighters and our interagency Whole of Government customers,” Shirley said. “The results of these individuals’ efforts were absolutely critical to ensuring world class support to America’s warfighters around the globe in peace and in war.”

Simerly attended the ceremony in-person and was inducted for his outstanding mission support from 2017 to 2019. During this time, Simerly led the organization’s humanitarian support to those affected by the 2017 hurricane season and Troop Support’s annual sales for fiscal year 2018, a record $17.6 billion at the time, according to his award citation.

“I’m tremendously honored to be able to come back here for the ceremony, and I’m tremendously thankful for what you all do every day on behalf of our warfighters and our nation,” Simerly said. “Just as I was when I was serving here, I am a proud member of this team. I’ll always be proud of the mission of the Defense Logistics Agency. I’ll certainly look back with proudness and fondness on this day when I got to come back and shake hands with you all. So, thanks very much.”

Buchwald also attended the ceremony in-person and was honored for his military and civilian service to Troop Support. As an Army colonel, Buchwald served as Medical director from 2001 to 2005, and as a civilian, director of Customer Operations from 2009 to 2016.

His innovative leadership helped position the Medical supply chain as the leader of logistics within the federal medical community, in addition to establishing critical partnerships and delivering world-class service to 9,500 customers worldwide, according to his award citation.

“I’m very honored to be inducted to the DLA Troop Support Hall of Fame and serving as the Medical director was the pinnacle of my military career,” Buchwald said.

Daley and Hewes were unable to attend in-person, however Subsistence Deputy Director Gary Shifton accepted the respective awards on their behalf.

Daley was honored for the visionary leadership, acquisition and supplier relations expertise and stewardship he provided throughout his 36 years of federal service, from 1980 to 2016. Throughout his career Daley served in several leadership roles and made significant contributions to the Subsistence supply chain, including developing the Manufacturer Price Agreement program, which is still in use today, according to his award citation. The program sets pricing agreements between DLA Troop Support and food item manufacturers and saves taxpayer dollars.

Shifton thanked the Troop Support workforce and others significant to Daley’s career journey on his behalf.

“Tom says you’re an amazingly talented group of people who should be very proud of the things you’ve accomplished,” Shifton said. “Any success that he may have had, has been a direct result of everyone’s hard work.”

Hewes was inducted for the superior customer service she provided during her federal career from 1980 to 2016, fluidly translating the agency’s financial and operational impacts to customers, according to her award citation. Her attention to detail made her the “go-to” tailored vendor logistics specialist for Navy ships as the single point of contact for Navy customers at sea supported by Subsistence prime vendor contracts.

“I loved the work, I loved the people, made lifelong friends and supported the warfighter,” Shifton read from a letter written by Hewes. “What a day for me. Thank you very much. It’s incredible for me to share this event today with my dear friend Ms. Debbie Sinno, who I had the absolute privilege and joy of working with for 25 years. All I want to do is smile and have better memories and to have my friend close by to me forever on the Hall of Fame wall as a never-ending present.”

Sinno was inducted posthumously for her dedication to duty and support to the warfighters during her 43 year-long federal career from 1974 to 2017. For nearly 20 years, Sinno worked within Subsistence’s Meals, Ready-to-Eat program as a customer account specialist, orchestrating the issuance of an average of nearly three million cases of MREs annually, valued at $300 million, according to her award citation.

The MRE is the “go-to” food ration for service members, and Sinno went above and beyond to ensure timely deliveries to customers, going as far as tracking down truck drivers and aircraft in hard-to-reach places to obtain delivery status to the exact time.

Sinno’s daughter Stefanie Sinno accepted the award on her behalf.

“I cannot say how thankful and honored I am to accept this award on behalf of my mother,” Sinno said. “My father, who is also recently deceased, and I, were always extremely proud of the work that my mother did.

“It’s such a place of privilege to know how many people believed in my mom and her work. I know that she loved her job, but she also had a whole bunch of fun while working,” she continued. “This was not only her work, but her extended family.”

Cromley’s unique skills, expertise and diverse breadth of organizational knowledge during her federal career from 1979 to 2019 earned her induction into the Hall of Fame. Cromley helped establish the Process Compliance directorate in 2014, while providing oversight of DLA Troop Support’s audit process to coincide with the Department of Defense’s requirement of being “audit ready” by 2017, according to her award citation. Cromley also helped Subsistence transition from a legacy cataloging system to the Enterprise Business System while serving as the chief of the Subsistence Business Office.

“I’m truly humbled for this recognition,” Cromley said. "My daughter said to me, ‘Mom, you must’ve done some really great things,’ and all I can remember is just working really hard and trying to take care of our people.

“We don’t get here standing alone, for all the people who worked beside me trying to bring support to the warfighter, I thank them,” she continued. “They made the workplace a home away from home.”

Shapiro was honored for his action-oriented leadership from 2013 to 2015, managing the completion of a complex wartime food service transition for more than 140 locations in Afghanistan. He was also a superior steward of public funds, championing the DOD Pharmaceutical National Contracts program, which realized a savings of $54.8 million in the first series of national contracts, according to his award citation.

Shapiro attended the ceremony virtually, and acting Command Support Director Diana Stewart accepted the award on his behalf. He thanked Stewart, others, and the workforce for honoring him, with hopes to show his appreciation in-person soon.

Concluding the ceremony, Shirley presented in-person honorees with plaques to take home.