NEW CUMBERLAND, Pa. –
Michael A. Fleming, supervisory counsel, labor and employment for Defense Logistics Agency Distribution General Counsel, retired March 31 from federal service after a thirty-eight-year career.
“Mike is the ultimate professional and mentor. He always provided the highest quality advice and counsel on the full range of challenging legal issues throughout his distinguished 18 years of exemplary service with DLA. Mike will be greatly missed by everyone who had the good fortune to know and work with him,” said John J. Karns, DLA Chief Counsel, Distribution.
During a small ceremony, Fleming was presented the DLA Meritorious Civilian Service Award by Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Keith D. Reventlow for his outstanding achievements during the span of his DLA career.
Fleming joined DLA after retiring as a Lt. Col. from the Air Force Judge Advocate General's Corps in 2004. In the early days, he enjoyed “being thrust into the fray,” doing all manner of trials and administrative hearings. Fleming credits his mentors — officers and enlisted — who supported and guided him early in his career path. He enjoyed litigation and worked in that realm for the first decade during a five-year tour at the former Lowry Air Force Base in Colorado, a three-year tour at the former Hahn Air Base in Germany, and then transitioned to labor and employment law issues during a two year tour at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida, and a one-year tour at the Georgetown, Master of Laws program in Washington, D.C. Fleming had two tours at the Air Force Materiel Command, headquartered at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio and the previous Vandenberg Air Force Base (now Vandenberg Space Force Base,) California, 14th Air Force, deputy staff judge advocate, and 30 Space Wing staff judge advocate for three years. In addition to positions as a staff judge advocate, Fleming had three tours as a deputy staff judge advocate, where he held the positions of area defense counsel and trial counsel at all levels of command except Air Force Headquarters.
Fleming’s ten years of military experience in labor and employment law paved the way for his transition to civilian employment with DLA as an assistant counsel for labor and employment. In the civilian workforce, he also credits his mentors (too many to list) for his successful career. However, John Karns stands out as a mentor since they worked together on legal issues at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base before he came to DLA. Overall, his mentors always expected him to, “Be professional and cordial, especially in the storm. Know your limits, be candid — even with senior leaders — and stay in your lane as an advisor.” Fleming added that employees should always remember that commanders and directors make decisions.
During his military and civilian career, Fleming received the Company Grade Officer of the 3rd Quarter, 1989, U.S. Air Force Europe Outstanding Judge Advocate of the Year,1990, Ninth Air Force, Outstanding Judge Advocate of the Year, 1993, Competitive Selection by U.S. Air Force for Judge Advocate General funded legal education program, DLA Humanitarian Award, 2014, Superior Civilian Service Award, 2016, DLA Humanitarian Effort Award, 2017 and DLA Legal Team of the Year, 2021.
The highlight of Fleming’s career has been working with the East and West labor employment team, and being honored as the DLA Legal Team of the Year for 2021 for their normal workload, along with the myriad issues involving COVID-19, vaccinations, personal protective equipment, administrative leave, etc. However, he says Distribution has a great legal team and he has thoroughly enjoyed his Air Force and DLA service to the Defense Department.
“I’ve met people who wholeheartedly desired to serve and did so well; I’ve also had a successful career, and now, I plan to spend my time enjoying my wife, adult children and the grandkids,” Fleming said.
For all federal workers, Fleming offers his last bit of legal advice. “Treat people equitably and fairly, strive to do the right thing the first time, for the right reasons at all times and of course, within legal boundaries.”