Richmond, Virginia –
Air Force Col. Kenton Ruthardt relinquished command to Air Force Lt. Col. James Malec at a ceremony officiated by former Defense Logistics Agency Aviation Commander Air Force Brig. Gen. Allan Day, June 23 held at the Tinker Aerospace Complex, Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma.
“Today, we will recognize the accomplishments of DLA Aviation at Oklahoma City under Col. Ruthardt’s leadership and welcome Lt. Col. Malec as the next commander,” said Day.
Ruthardt took command of DLA Aviation at Oklahoma City nearly three years ago in August of 2014, and has led the team in excellence towards the complex’s core mission and goals.
“Here at the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Complex we provide support for programmed depot maintenance for aircraft and engines as well as components,” said Day. “The parts and other support we provide helps keep the readiness restoration processes moving smoothly and steadily through hundreds of production lines. Ken and the aviation team have provided support to this depot complex by establishing relationships across the Air Force and DLA to ensure strong communication lines are wide open and effective.”
Under Ruthardt’s leadership many new milestones were met and problems were averted through hard work and creative solutions. One such problem averted was when an alarming trend in rising delivery response times to the post-dock flightline from DLA Distribution warehouses was uncovered.
Col. Ruthardt and the DLA Distribution Director Ned Lavidlette Jr. examined many alternatives, including establishing a new shop service center or retail parts storage location near the post dock flightline.
“Ken used an innovative solution to position one of his storage and distribution drivers in the DLA Distribution warehouse dedicated for post-dock deliveries,” said Day. “The results were dramatic, with an immediate 96 percent improvement in delivery times from an average of 240 minutes to 10 minutes.”
Departing from command, Ruthardt shared his thoughts, wisdom and experiences with Malec. He explained that as commander his primary job will be building relationships and breaking down barriers.
“There is no doubt in my mind that you will enjoy this tour,” said Ruthardt. “With this team you will absolutely be successful. My challenge to you is take care of these great Americans and continue to break down those barriers [that your team will face].”
Malec explained that his past assignments put him in a direct working relationship with DLA.
“From 2005-2006, I saw the integral role DLA played in providing the necessary supplies, equipment and aircraft parts when I was deployed to Al Dhafra Air Base, United Arab Emirates,” said Malec. “DLA is truly a world class organization.
Ruthardt may be leaving his mark; however, Malec is eager to blaze his own trail of success with the DLA team at Oklahoma City.
“When my assignment was being finalized, my primary desire was to work for DLA and I was ecstatic to learn from the Air Force that a matching position in this great organization was available,” said Malec. “I’m honored and humbled [to be in this position].”
Off we go into the wild blue yonder: Ruthardt’s retirement
Following the change of command, former DLA Aviation Commander Air Force Brig. Gen. Allan Day retired Col. Kenton Ruthardt after 27 years of service.
“In my opinion, these retirement ceremonies serve three main purposes. First they serve to honor the member who served and the families who served right along with them,” said Day. “Second, these ceremonies honor those who served with the member by highlighting some of the accomplishments that the member did in their career … but everyone knows that no one gets through a career without a lot of help from their team. Finally, these ceremonies serve to keep a tradition and legacy of honoring the faithful service of members who gave a great portion of their lives to serve our nation by defending freedom here and around the world.”
Day addressed Ruthardt’s family and expressed his admiration for their airman and appreciation for their support of both him and DLA.
“I know there have been many late nights, missed holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, and other events over the years,” said Day. “As an exceptional leader, he wouldn’t ask his team to do something he wouldn’t do, so thank you for helping him be a remarkable officer and being there for him as he served throughout his career and as the commander of DLA Aviation at Oklahoma City.”
With 27 years of service, Day was able to find a trend from the bullets in Ruthardt’s officer evaluations.
“This is a culmination of an exemplary officer’s career. But starting at the end doesn’t seem quite right. After digging through his records and snooping around a bit, I have found some things that you won’t get from his duty history in the program biography,” said Day. He explained that throughout the evaluations three main traits defined Ruthardt: committed, articulate, and innovative.
This may be the culmination of Ruthardt’s time in the Air Force, but it is far from the end of his career. Ruthardt plans on continuing his career in logistics in a field related to the Department of Defense.
“It’s hard to let go of an officer with such exceptional merit and character,” said Day. “Thank you for all you have done to support the mission here at DLA Aviation at Oklahoma City and all you have done to support our warfighters.”