FORT BELVOIR, Va. –
A member of Defense Logistics Agency Energy has received Army honors for helping feed and shelter 12,000 Afghans fleeing Taliban control during Operation Allies Refuge and Operation Allies Welcome in August 2021.
Army Maj. Michael Andrew McCrory, chief of future plans and operations for DLA Energy Europe and Africa, was presented the 2022 Lt. Gen. Arthur J. Gregg Sustainment Leadership Award this fall during the Association of the United States Army’s annual meeting and expo. The award recognizes those who’ve made significant contributions to Army sustainment operations.
As executive officer for the 16th Sustainment Brigade’s 39th Movement Control Battalion, McCrory led a team that built capacity for receiving the first influx of Afghan travelers at Rhine Ordnance Barracks, Germany. The operation was initially slated to last 10-15 days but continued for 75 days as Afghan travelers awaited their departure for the United States.
Support included feeding up to 8,000 travelers three times a day. McCrory eased the challenges of feeding toddlers and families by enlisting help from military spouses who created baby formula stations. He also worked with local restaurants willing to open their kitchens for cleaning baby bottles after hours. To meet Afghan diet preferences, he arranged for Afghan military members to train contracted and military cooks in Afghan-style meals.
McCrory’s team met needs for clothing and necessities by partnering with various government, nongovernment and charitable organizations including the U.S. Agency for International Development, the American and German Red Cross, UNICEF, local churches, and the USO.
“I was lucky enough to serve and get to know numerous great families and leaders over the three years in Germany leading up to OAW. These connections provided a wealth of expertise when asking for help,” he said.
McCrory’s team also reunited displaced family members and minors traveling alone. He said he viewed the operation as a chance to show America’s hospitality and values as well as the benefits of American citizenship, and his team arranged events like movie nights and sports competitions to improve the travelers’ morale.
“I constantly reminded the ad-hoc task force that these people would one day be our neighbors in the United States. Our kids would be sitting next to some of these kids in classrooms. Some of these people could be serving next to us in uniform,” he said. “Our first impression and how we cared for them would bring ripples of benefits for generations to come.”
McCrory showed that logistics is more than the procurement and movement of supplies, according to his nomination.
“It is the presentation of these supplies to a population, a group of loyal allies and their families, in true need,” it reads.
The leadership award is named after retired Army Lt. Gen. Arthur J. Gregg, who was the Army’s highest-ranking minority soldier upon his retirement in 1981 as the deputy chief of staff for Army logistics. He was the first Black, active-duty Army officer to reach the rank of lieutenant general.
McCrory was nominated by the 16th Sustainment Brigade through the 21st Theater Support Command. He arrived at DLA Energy Europe and Africa in July 2022 after having worked alongside DLA staff in the region.