DLA Troop Support recognizes civilian retirees

By Nancy Benecki Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support Public Affairs

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It was a standing-room-only event as the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support bid farewell to three civilian employees during a retirement ceremony July 29.

Susan Baker and Jeffrey Kochanowicz retired from the Construction and Equipment supply chain after 36 and 35 years of service respectively at DLA Troop Support. Garth McBride of the J3/J5, Operations and Plans directorate, also retired after 33 years of service.

DLA Troop Support Commander Army Brig. Gen. Gavin Lawrence presided over the ceremony, filled with the retirees’ family and friends. He thanked the three new retirees for their 104 combined years of service to the federal government and warfighters.

“Despite the changing times, your steadfast commitment to the warfighter and the DLA mission has remained strong and unwavering,” Lawrence said. “You have met every challenge, and our warfighters have never suffered as a result.”

During the ceremony, Lawrence presented Baker, Kochanowicz and McBride with certificates of retirement, DLA Troop Support mementos, and commander’s coins. Their spouses also received certificates of appreciation.

“With your retirement, you complete an important page in Troop Support’s history,” Lawrence said.

Baker began her career as an inventory manager at the Defense Industrial Supply Center, in 1983, shortly after graduating from college with a degree in textile design. She worked her way up through various roles including contracting officer, customer liaison specialist, and business analyst. For the last 15 years, she has led the surge and readiness branch in the Construction and Equipment supply chain.

“I’m very, very thankful for the opportunities [DLA] has provided me all of these years, Baker said. “I’ve made so many close, wonderful friendships that I hope will continue throughout the rest of our lives. I’m so proud and so honored to have been able to support my coworkers, but most importantly, the warfighter.”

Kochanowicz, who started his career as a procurement clerk in 1984, became DLA Troop Support’s wood products subject matter expert. He established the first-ever lumber long-term contract and paved the way of development for the new generation of C&E’s wood products total logistics support program. His efforts were instrumental in helping DLA Troop Support supply about $3 million in lumber and plywood during humanitarian efforts in response to Typhoon Yutu.

“We’ve been through a lot, Susan, Garth and I,” Kochanowicz said. “We’ve had some ups and downs, but I really have to say it’s mostly been upwards. It’s gotten better and better.”

McBride, who celebrated his 41st wedding anniversary with his wife Andrea on his retirement day, started at the Defense Industrial Supply Center as an inventory management specialist in 1986. He retired as the J3/5 customer support liaison for the U.S. Navy and Special Operations Command. He received numerous awards during his time at DLA Troop Support including Supervisor of the Year, the DLA Positive Leader award, the Superior Civilian Service Award, and the Headquarters DLA Leader of the Year award.

He thanked his coworkers and recalled the discussions he had with them about improving relationships, both at work and with their families.

“I had so many guys that called me once they found out I was retiring just to say thank you for your service,” McBride said.