News | June 16, 2017

Williams assumes responsibility as DLA director

By Dianne Ryder

Army Maj. Gen. (Promotable) Darrell Williams was promoted to lieutenant general and became the 19th director of the Defense Logistics Agency June 16 in a ceremony at the McNamara Headquarters Complex.

Williams previously served as the commanding general of U.S. Army Combined Arms Support Command/Sustainment Center of Excellence at Fort Lee, Virginia. This is his second assignment with DLA; his first was as commander of DLA Land and Maritime in Columbus, Ohio, from September 2010 to July 2012.

Despite the time difference, Army Gen. Vincent Brooks, commander of United States Forces Korea, officiated the promotion portion of the ceremony via video teleconference.

“I believe that Darrell Williams is probably the most well-rounded logistician that I’ve encountered in my career — and that is tall praise with the people [present] in that room,” Brooks said. “Darrell is a unique package when you put everything together and look at all he’s accomplished as a person and a professional.”

Brooks expounded on Williams’ varied experience at the tactical, operational and wholesale global levels.

“Pretty much the whole world has been a place touched by Darrell Williams and his service,” Brooks said. “His institutional experiences are unparalleled as well.”

Brooks joked that Williams “only had three master’s degrees” but noted the distinction of Williams’ selection as a small-group instructor at the Quartermaster school early in his career, where he trained fellow service members to become proficient logisticians. Later, Williams graduated from the Army's Command and General Staff College's School of Advanced Military Studies, where he learned the “art of war,” Brooks said.

“There are not many logisticians who have taken that course,” he said. “Darrell Williams is one of them who has done so and has demonstrated his extraordinary knowledge in applying what he learned there time and time again.”

“Our nation has chosen well, and we will all be the beneficiaries because of this elevation that’s about to happen,” Brooks said.

Brooks then administered the oath of office to Williams. After Williams’ wife, son and daughter affixed the shoulder boards of his new rank, Williams’ brother, James Williams, a Vietnam veteran, presented his brother with a beret with his new lieutenant general rank and saluted him.

James MacStravic, performing the duties of the under secretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, officiated the assumption of responsibility. He talked about DLA’s important role partnering with AT&L to support Department of Defense goals.

“Your mission, expertise and experience will continue to be valued at the highest level,” he said. “Darrell, your expansive experience, demonstrated leadership qualities and absolute support to the warfighter will be a great asset here at DLA. You’ve been described as a great mentor and a ‘people first’ leader, and I have no doubt that the DLA workforce will continue to thrive under your leadership.”

MacStravic then presented the DLA command flag to Williams, assisted by Army Command Sgt. Maj. Charles Tobin, the DLA senior enlisted leader.

Williams acknowledged the distinguished guests, family members and friends and thanked those who participated in the ceremony. He opened his remarks to the audience by stating his leadership philosophy.

“If you take care of your people, the mission will happen,” Williams said. He pointed out that the ceremony was not about him. “It’s about God, it’s about family and it’s about service to nation.”

Williams said early in his career, he had a hard time believing this promotion would come but said he now faces the opportunity with “confident humility — confident that the military has provided me with the requisite background experience, yet humbled by the enormity of the responsibility for leading a critical, global Department of Defense agency,” he added.

Williams highlighted the importance of his career success to his family.

“My task has been to take care of troops and their families, take care of my own family and to follow the dimly lit path in front of me,” he said. Williams thanked his immediate family members for their support. “[It’s] been a priceless asset to our military, and frankly, to my effectiveness as a military officer.”

Williams recalled his initial service in Reserve Officers' Training Corps as an obligatory means toward a scholarship but noted, “Somewhere along the path, I fell in love with our troops and families and bought into the idea of service before self.”

Williams concluded by thanking troops and civilians and former agency directors, especially former DLA Director Air Force Lt. Gen. Andrew Busch, who retired May 11 but could not be present at the ceremony.

In the audience were Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense and the Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Logistics and Materiel Readiness Kristin French; Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Alan Estevez; and former DLA Directors Vice Adm. Mark Harnitchek and Vice Adm. Alan Thompson.