Oct. 10, 2018 —
After years of advancing in the rankings, this year the Defense Logistics Agency beat the competition to win the Fort Belvoir Commander’s Cup for the first time.
DLA Director Army Lt. Gen. Darrell Williams congratulated the team for the monumental win in an Oct. 4 ceremony at the McNamara Headquarters Complex. The director thanked the participants and noted that activities featuring teamwork and competition are unique in their ability to help keep morale high.
Designed to promote physical fitness, morale and team spirit, the Fort Belvoir Commander’s Cup program has base units and agencies competing in sanctioned events to accumulate points. Competition started in September 2017 and included flag football, basketball, racquetball, volleyball, combatives, soccer, tennis, formation run, softball, bowling, swimming, golf and cross country running. At the end of the season, the team with the highest number of points is awarded the legendary Commander’s Cup Trophy and ultimate bragging rights.
Andrew Green, DLA Strategic Materials market analyst, has been DLA’s intramural coordinator since he started the DLA soccer team in the spring of 2014.
“Every year, three dozen or more units and agencies at Fort Belvoir compete in intramural sports to earn points towards the Commander’s Cup,” he said. “We go head-to-head in stiff competition as teams from Fort Belvoir Community Hospital, Defense Threat Reduction Agency, Army’s 249th Engineer Battalion, U.S. Army Legal Services Agency and DLA have controlled the top five for the past five years and now National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency is up and coming.”
The 2016 and 2017 defending champions, Fort Belvoir Community Hospital, started strong after winning the first events of the season.
But DLA had other plans. Fueled by last year’s devastating two-point loss to the hospital, DLA dug deep and stayed focused on the goal to secure the cup, Green said.
Finally, on Sept. 19, after taking second place in the swim meet, DLA clinched the Cup.
The final tally had DLA winning with 198 points — 29 points over the next team. Second place went to the Army’s 249th Engineer Battalion with 169 points and DTRA with 162 points.
The Team Spirit
Brian Wilt, DLA Acquisitions procurement analyst, has been participating in multiple DLA intramural sports since 2006 and coaching the volleyball team since 2015.
“It’s so nice to see years of dedication and tireless effort on the part of our leader, Andy, pay off,” Wilt said. “It is no small feat to recruit, organize, coach and motivate workforce members in this many activities and then reach a goal like this with such fierce competition.”
Green said it’s a team effort just to manage all the sporting events.
“This win is the culmination of years of effort from a lot of people around the building,” he said. “Ellis Anderson has been key running golf and bowling. Darren Dunham and Darrell Brooks have been excellent at running the softball team. Kerry Bullock runs an excellent basketball team. Brian Wilt and Tuyen ‘Tim’ Le have been tireless organizers of the volleyball team. For softball, volleyball, and bowling, I’ve been happy to just participate, not needing to run anything.”
Ellis Anderson, a DLA Small Business Office program analyst on a rotational position in DLA Finance, has been the coordinator for the DLA golf and bowling team for three years.
“I’ve been involved in sports since I could walk, and I love competition,” he said. “The race for the Commander’s Cup gives us adults a chance to act like kids again, and it’s good to be able to do some light-hearted bragging.”
Stephanie Wright, director of DLA Finance Enterprise Financial Operations, was an instrumental player on the DLA tennis team, which took 23 points in the competition — 13 more than any other team. Wright earned several of those points when she won first place in women’s doubles and mixed doubles and second place in women’s singles.
“I’m happy I was able to help get DLA a few points in support of the win,” she said. “Participating is a fun way to get to know my DLA teammates and to meet players from other teams on base.”
Wilt said DLA employee participation in the Cup competition solidifies DLA’s commitment as a faithful team member of the overall military community.
“The race for the Commander’s Cup is all about sportsmanship and team building,” he said. “By pushing ourselves physically and mentally in this environment, and building relationships, we enhance our ability and renew our dedication to serving the warfighter and all U.S. interests.”
Mark Albright, DLA Energy management and program analyst, participates in many DLA intramural sports and is a co-captain of the DLA coed soccer team.
“The team aspect of playing with coworkers helps to build strong bonds and networks across the Agency,” he said. “It truly creates the feeling that ‘We are all DLA’ and not just Energy, Acquisition or Finance.”
DLA’s Strategic Plan places significant emphasis on people and culture. Ken McLain, the interim DLA Acquisition culture and climate champion and DLA team member in running and swimming events, said sports play an important role in building a healthy organizational culture.
“DLA’s participation for the Fort Belvoir Commander’s Cup contributes to building esprit de corps across the entire DLA community,” he said. “This enhances the climate of our Agency and builds camaraderie across organization which leads to improved communication and networking across the enterprise.”
Guno Kletter, DLA Energy strategic energy initiatives program manager, said the connections he’s made continue off the field.
“The relationships I’ve made while playing on the soccer team have made professional connections much easier and seamless,” Kletter said. “Many times when I attend a meeting, I will see a familiar face from the playing field and instantly we have a foundation without saying a word. These connections span across the base and out in to the community.”
When asked why she participates in the competition, Michelle Sands, DLA Energy Bulk Petroleum contract specialist, said it’s about taking pride in her job.
“I’m passionate about the race for the Commander’s Cup because I am passionate about working for DLA,” she said. “Any chance to bolster up DLA as the best, I’ll be there as a willing participant.”
The events are open to military, their dependents, and Department of Defense employees and contractors and designed to encourage comradery across various directorates and tenants on the installation.