Cherry Point, North Carolina –
Defense Logistics Agency Aviation Commander Air Force Brig. Gen. Allan Day welcomed Navy Cmdr. Keith Klemm as the new DLA Aviation – Cherry Point, North Carolina, commander during a ceremony June 16 held on Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point.
Klemm assumed command from Navy Cmdr. James Neuman, who was recognized in a retirement ceremony immediately following the change of command.
After welcoming guests, Day emphasized the importance of why DLA Aviation exists as he addressed attendees which included DLA military and civilian personnel, as well as Marines from the air station, and members from the Navy Fleet Readiness Center East.
“DLA and DLA Aviation have a clear purpose. Our “why” is to generate readiness for the joint warfighter - to drive continuous support to the warfighter. Warfighter support is our first priority and that will never change,” Day said. “Cherry Point is the center of Marine aviation readiness. Always remember, how Cherry Point is doing also reflects how DLA Aviation is doing. Their successes are our successes.”
Day applauded the DLA Aviation –Cherry Point team for their commitment as he highlighted how they took care of each other and their customers over the past two years during Neuman’s command.
As a team, DLA Aviation - Cherry Point purchased more than $210 million of consumable parts annually for DLA’s largest Navy customer, Fleet Readiness Center East at Cherry Point.
“They have supported over 18,000 requisitions per month. As a result, FRC East is able to annually produce over 8,000 components, 100 aircraft and 77 engines,” Day said.
The team also reduced the number of unfilled orders by 2,400 requisitions, resulting in critical material being available to FRC East during challenging times with unexpected changing demands. They also worked to improve workforce culture by establishing a Culture Advisory Committee and continued participation in the Labor Management Forum with the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers Local Lodge 2297.
“Both initiatives ensure we have open lines of communication to meet our common FRC East support goals,” said Day.
Day reminded Klemm and the DLA Aviation team at Cherry Point to “never forget our purpose.”
“Commit to using continuous process improvement to find smarter ways to do things. Keep the warfighter first as they are the reason we exist. Our customers count on us delivering on our promise,” said Day. Continue to achieve retail excellence through teamwork and strategic engagements with customers and suppliers. In serving our customers, we always need to keep in mind we are stewards of our nation’s trust and confidence and we are accountable to that high bar as we serve this great nation.”
Klemm told the DLA Aviation - Cherry Point team, as well as the military customers in attendance, his focus would be supporting them and making his command all it can be over the next three years.
“It’s overwhelming just how immense of an impact this command has on Navy/Marine Corps readiness,” Klemm said. “Through your [DLA Aviation – Cherry Point’s] direct support, countless V-22s, H-1s, H-53s and AV-8 Harriers get cranked out to the Marine Corps’ front lines a steady rhythm.”
Klemm also addressed the challenges he knows are ahead including aging aircraft, smaller Department of Defense budgets and fluctuating fleet operational tempo. “We aren’t always dealt the hand we need to accomplish our task at hand, but as a team, I know we can always adjusts our sails to reach our target,” he said.
Klemm comes to DLA Aviation – Cherry Point after a successful joint billet as the lead contracting officer with NATO Headquarters, Supreme Allied Command Transformation in Norfolk, Virginia, where he provided contracting support to NATO, as well as three joint centers located throughout Europe.
Fair Winds and Following Seas:
Following the change of command ceremony, Day recognized Neuman for his 24-year Navy career in a retirement ceremony.
Neuman was commissioned in 1993 through the Navy Reserve Officer Training Corps. His shore and staff assignments included serving as a configuration/logistics support management and afloat readiness officer for the Commander, Naval Surface Force Atlantic, and Deputy Inspector General to the Commanding General at Joint Task Force Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
He also held various assignments on both the East and West coasts and overseas including serving as the assistant supply officer onboard the USS Bataan (LHD-5) and the USS Monterey (CG-61), as supply officer on the USS Benford (DDG-65). He also served as the officer-in-charge at the Fleet Industrial Supply Center Sigonella, Contracts Division in Naples, Italy.
In addition to serving as a supply corps officer, Neuman taught at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, on the military faculty in the School of Business and Public Policy where he taught master’s level courses in contracting and acquisition.
“They say it takes a special calling to be a teacher,” Day said. “Jim, thank you for not only serving your country, but for teaching the future leaders of the Navy and Marine Corps. I wish you ‘fair winds and following seas’ as this chapter of your life comes to a close and a new one begins.”
Neuman gave special thanks to his wife, Greta; and his father, Adolf, for supporting him throughout his career. He said his father, who also served in the Navy, gave him some of the best career advice about college and becoming a Navy officer during his visits with recruiters as he was ending his high school career.
Neuman also expressed his gratitude to the DLA Aviation – Cherry Point team and recognized many employees within the organization who supported him during his time as commander there.
“We have gone from 88.3 percent materiel availability when I assumed command to a high of 92.5 percent for this year, which translates to more materiel being delivered to our customers so they can meet their depot repair mission,” Neuman said. “These achievements could not have happened without the daily hard work and coordination by both our DLA and FRC employees.”
Neumann was awarded the Defense Meritorious Service Medal for his achievements at DLA Aviation –Cherry Point commander from July 2015 through June 2017. He was also presented with a DLA Aviation Plaque before his retirement orders were read.
His wife and daughter, Violet, where also given certificates of appreciation for their support through his various Navy assignments. Neuman retires effective Sept. 1.