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News | Aug. 4, 2015

Historical DLA Energy photos added to DLA archives

By Irene Smith DLA Energy Public Affairs

Defense Logistics Agency historians received more than 6,000 historic photographs, negatives and 10 video tapes to add to the DLA history program during renovations to the DLA Energy Kunkel Conference Room.

The historical photograph collection was labeled and stored in 23 archival boxes of photos from the 1980s to 2010 time period. The pictures are a time capsule of command leadership portraits, award ceremonies, Christmas parties, picnics and retirements, as well as site photographs at now-defunct defense fuel support points.

“I estimate there are more than 6,000 images and corresponding negatives, many with captions, and events labeled,” said Harold Raugh, DLA chief historian. “It traces through images, the evolution and development of Defense Fuel Supply Center. That tremendously enhances the historical relevance, value and significance of the photos to DLA.”

Last year, DLA Energy turned over four binders of photos and two binders of photo CDs to the historians from 2003 to 2009.

The origins of DLA Energy date back to World War II. Originally, the organization was an entity of the Department of Interior as the Army-Navy Petroleum Board whose mission was to administer the petroleum requirements during World War II.

The organization underwent several name changes, but its mission of administering petroleum requirements remained essentially the same until 1962. At that time, it became a part of the consolidated military supply organization called the Defense Supply Agency. Today, that agency is known as DLA Energy.

“This is significant, a comprehensive collection that is well-labeled and well-preserved,” said Chrissie Reilly, staff historian. “The effort and care people took in labeling and organizing the photo collection makes their long term value and increases how easy it is to use them.”

It is always easier to maintain historical materials that are already in good conditions then to conserve and repair damaged ones, Reilly added.

The existence of the well-preserved files is credited to Marilyn Miller, executive officer and public affairs officer for the organization from 1992 to 1999. During her seven years, Miller captured and preserved the many changes that took place during those years¬¬ – the move from Cameron Station, Virginia, the expansion of DLA Energy’s mission to include all energy resources and several World Wide Energy Conferences.

“The boxes of pictures have been well preserved, because we had people along the way who knew the value of them,” said Idella Fletcher, retired DLA Energy public affairs employee. “Prior to Marilyn, the pictures were kept in binders and in filing cabinets. She assigned summer hires into organizing them by event and dates. She had them log them into spreadsheets, so you could go to the numbered box and find the picture you were searching for. It was her idea to buy the boxes and file them.”

In 2014, DLA reestablish an agency-wide history program after a nearly 13-year absence of historians from the agency.

The historians welcome contributions to their archives from DLA personnel and the primary-level field activities.

“The Energy collection is mostly photos while (DLA Strategic Plans and Policy) provided boxes of documents,” Reilly said. “We’re relying on people who have collected pictures, documents and other materials over the years in order to build our collection.”  

“We like getting these donations. I would hope other sections would emulate DLA Energy actions,” Raugh said. “This is part of our continuing historical assist visits to the primary-level field activities to help identify, categorize and preserve their historical documents and photographs. While the DLA archives are in a developmental stage, it’s important that we capture DLA historical source material before it disappears and make sure it is properly preserves and organized.”

This in turn serves as a focal point for the workforce to gain an appreciation of their history and heritage and the excellent performance high standards and contributions of their predecessors to the DLA mission in support of the workforce, Raugh added.

“It will likely be a few months before I am able to index this collection, but as soon as I do, this information will be shared with you, DLA Energy and the workforce,” Reilly said.

The DLA Energy Public Affairs office is continuing its efforts of archiving of photographs. A digital collection of photographs dating back to 2007 is stored on a series of chronologically dated CDs.

For more information on the DLA history program, contact dla.history@dla.mil.