News | Feb. 15, 2019

Black History Month Spotlight: Caleb Whitaker, Jr.

By DLA Energy Public Affairs

Editor's note: This year's national Black History month theme is “Black Migrations” honoring African Americans in motion. Just like their ancestors, these DLA Energy employees are driving forward, progressing their lives and careers in positive ways.

My name is:

Caleb Whitaker, Jr.

I am:

A Resolution Specialist for DLA Energy Japan

Describe your job in a sentence:

I monitor and analyze daily and monthly fuel transactions for timeliness and accuracy for Defense Working Capital Fund petroleum inventory at 16 Defense Fuel Support Points throughout Japan.

How long have you worked at DLA?

I was assigned to DLA when I was in the military from 2008-2012. I have been a DLA civilian employee since 2013.

What are your best memories of working for DLA?

One of my best memories is supporting the Japanese citizens during Operation Tomadachi. In March 2011, Japan experienced a 9.1 magnitude Tohoku earthquake and tsunami. The earthquake damaged and destroyed some of the fuel infrastructure, gravely limiting fuel distribution. DLA Energy Japan quickly found alternate means to deploy and distribute fuel in the affected areas by contracting fuel tank trucks from Central Tokyo and transporting more than 500,000 gallons of fuel. This experience was rewarding to me knowing that I made a difference in peoples’ lives and helped them get back on their feet after a devastating earthquake disaster.

How do you make a difference?

My job requires critical thinking and effective communication to work through difficult processes and assist in solving DFSP’s problems related to fuel inventory. Knowing that I am able to assist DFSPs in solving complicated issues brings joy to my heart as a DLA Energy employee. Because, at the end of the day, the DFSP is satisfied with their operations and the fuel is flowing to the Warfighter.

How are you driving forward and progressing in your life and career in positive ways?

While in the U.S. Army, I was in leadership positions making decisions that impacted the success of my squad, section, platoon and company during peacetime and wartime. Being retired from the Army for five years, I have been transitioning and transforming what I learned in the military to being a leader in the Department of Defense civilian sector. In 2018, I started a Master of Business program and completed the Emerging Leaders Program at the Pacific Leadership Academy in Honolulu, Hawaii. The Emerging Leaders Program gave me the tools I needed to coach, mentor and teach employees at a supervisory level someday as a civil servant. Before this program, I would volunteer to assist my office leadership as much as possible to develop my social and communication skills. I volunteered to sponsor new employees, communicated with Japanese local nationals/vendors and arranged holiday gatherings, office off-sites and programs. I have also taken leadership roles at the local Veteran of Foreign Wars organization as post quartermaster officer. In this role, I’m the financial officer that handles all budget and financial operations. 

At the end of the day, I hope the future holds a leadership/supervisory position where I can combine both my military experience and training to make a difference for DLA Energy.