NEW CUMBERLAND, Pa. –
Defense Logistics Agency Distribution Current Operations Director Army Col. Robb Meert retired from active duty in a ceremony at DLA Distribution Headquarters June 10. Originally from South Dakota, Meert became the director of the DLA Distribution Current Operations Directorate in August 2020.
Meert enlisted in the Army as a Korean linguist in 1989; after four years he left active duty to join the Army National Guard and attend college. He is a distinguished military graduate from South Dakota State University where he earned a bachelor’s degree, with honors, in Economics in 1997 and was commissioned a 2nd lieutenant in the Quartermaster Corps.
Former Commanding General of DLA Distribution, Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Keith D. Reventlow, officiated the ceremony. In his remarks he fondly recalled his time spent with Meert and lauded his many accomplishments.
Meert recognized his wife and two sons, first and foremost, as well as extended family and friends who made the cross-country journey to New Cumberland for the ceremony.
Regarding his time as operations director at DLA Distribution, Meert said he is, “amazed by the dedicated crew of service members, DOD civilians and contractors who make it happen every day.”
For his significant contributions and achievements as the director of DLA Distribution Current Operations, Meert was awarded the Defense Superior Service Medal.
Additionally, Meert was presented with a letter from the president congratulating him on his retirement and an official retirement certificate.
Meert’s contributions at DLA Distribution enabled a workforce of 8,000 to manage 2.4 million stock items worth $123 billion and provide over $2 billion in transportation services. He was able to shepherd numerous strategic initiatives into maturity.
Meert demonstrated his leadership expertise as he led DLA’s operations in support of the president’s 1 billion free at-home COVID-19 tests. He led the effort in building the plan to receive and transship test kits around the clock at multiple locations, and established critical contacts between DLA, Health & Human Services Department, Defense Contracting Management Agency and the USPS that positioned DLA as the lynchpin in the enterprise.
Prior to establishing DLA Distribution as a key link in the at-home test kit project, Meert rapidly established a global pipeline for the distribution of the nation’s three COVID-19 vaccines, delivering over 1 million doses to forward-deployed military personnel, their families and DOD contractors in 35 countries, all without loss or compromise. This represents an astonishing achievement given the scheduling, inspection, cold chain management, and recipient verification requirements for every shipment, as well as the task of overcoming unpredictable acceptance restrictions in foreign area ports of debarkation.
Additionally, the operations center facilitated the delivery of over 36 million items of critical medical supplies and equipment to front-line healthcare workers in support of Federal Emergency Management Agency and HHS, including 3.2 million doses of flu vaccine, 13 million cloth masks, and massive quantities of hand sanitizer, thermometers, COVID-19 test kits, gloves and surgical smocks. This is even more remarkable when it is placed in the context of COVID-19 workplace restrictions such as reduced staffing, staggered shifts and social distancing.
Finally, Meert was a key stakeholder in modernizing military distribution including at DoD’s largest distribution center, where a $200 million contract was awarded in September 2020 to modernize the Eastern Distribution Center in New Cumberland, Pennsylvania.
Before joining the DLA team, Meert served as Support and Sustainment division chief, Office of the Program Manager-Saudi Arabia National Guard, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. He also served with the Office of the Program Manager-Saudi Arabia National Guard, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; battalion commander, 18th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 16th Sustainment Brigade, 21st Theater Sustainment Command, in Grafenwoehr, Germany; 5-7 Air Defense Artillery Battalion (Patriot), Kaiserslautern, Germany; commander, 226th Maintenance Company, 19th Maintenance Battalion, Fort Sill, Oklahoma; water platoon leader and Class IX Supply Support Activity platoon leader/accountable Officer, 701st Main Support Battalion, 1st Infantry Division, Kitzingen, Germany; POL & water platoon leader and company executive officer, 305th Quartermaster Company, 227th Maintenance Battalion, 501st Corps Support Group, Yongsan, Republic of Korea.
His key staff assignments include: force structure team chief, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, G-4, Headquarters Department of the Army, the Pentagon, Virginia; chief of Supply and Services Branch, Sustainment Operations Division, G4 and executive officer to the G4, U.S. Army Europe Headquarters, Wiesbaden, Germany; executive officer to the Commanding General, 21st Theater Sustainment Command, Kaiserslautern, Germany; Brigade S4, 357th Air and Missile Defense Detachment, Kaiserslautern, Germany; deputy plans chief, US Forces Afghanistan, Kabul, Afghanistan; equipping chief, US Army Europe G4, Heidelberg, Germany; Battalion S3, 19th Maintenance Battalion, Balad, Iraq; Battalion S4 and supply and services officer, 701st Main Support Battalion, 1st Infantry Division, Kitzingen, Germany; material management officer, 227th Maintenance Battalion, 501st Corps Support Group, Yongsan, Republic of Korea.
Meert’s awards and decorations include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, seven Meritorious Service Medals, five Army Commendation Medals, five Army Achievement Medals, two Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medals, the Joint Meritorious Unit Award and the Army Superior Unit Award. He is authorized to wear the Parachutists Badge, the Army Staff Identification Badge, the Honorable Order of Saint Martin, the Ordnance Order of Samuel Sharpe and the Honorable Order of Saint Barbara.
Meert leaves DLA Distribution with a legacy of innovation, improvement and dedication to quality.