DLA Aviation welcomes new Army Customer Facing Division chief

By Cathy Hopkins DLA Aviation Public Affairs Office

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Army Col. Woodard ‘Buddy” Hopkins, III, joined Defense Logistics Agency Aviation in July as the new Army Customer Facing Division chief within the Customer Operations Directorate.

Hopkins began traveling almost as soon as he arrived in Richmond, Virginia, meeting with division team members and engaging Army customers at Fort Rucker and Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, and at Corpus Christi Army Depot in Texas to determine the next steps forward for Army support.

Hopkins sat down with the DLA Aviation Public Affairs Office recently to share a little of his background and leadership style with the workforce.

Hopkins received his commission in 1991 as an aviation second lieutenant upon graduation from Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri. Prior to this assignment, Hopkins served for two years as a faculty member at the Dwight D. Eisenhower School for National Security and Resource Strategy at the National Defense University, Washington, D.C. His duties there included assistant professor in the Strategic Leadership Department, chief of Staff of the Army Chair, lead for the Missile Defense Industry Study and dean of students.

His assignments related to aviation logistics that helped prepare him from both supply and maintenance perspectives for his current position include the 603rd Aviation Support Battalion commander, 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, Hunter Army Airfield, Savannah, Georgia, where he received and warehoused parts for his mechanics at the airfield and for deploying units. The brigade supported multiple airframes to include Apache, Kiowa, Blackhawk, and Chinook helicopters; as well as, multiple unmanned aerial vehicles.

He also served as commander, Aviation Intermediate Maintenance Company, 82d Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, North Carolina; and executive officer to the Director of Army Aviation, Deputy Chief of Staff, Headquarters, Department of the Army, Washington, D.C.

His operational deployments include serving as liaison officer for the Operational Reserve to the Multi-National Division, Operation (South West) Operation Joint Forge, Bosnia; battalion executive officer during Operation Iraqi Freedom, and two tours during Operations Enduring Freedom first as a company commander and later as a battalion commander.

Hopkins said he has roughly 49 employees in his division and is he very much in a learning mode as this is his first assignment with DLA. He said through his service at the Eisenhower School and interacting with students, he had a little exposure to DLA. 

“After arriving in Richmond, I’m impressed with the scope of what DLA does and scale of what DLA Aviation does from strategic contacts, emergency buys, to the level of analysis on requirements’ determining what to buy based on demand history and forecasts,” he said. “I’m counting on the team to continue executing and to help educate me to determine the best ways to accomplish our mission or find better ways to achieve it,”

Hopkins said he needs to learn the right levers to apply to get the job done.

“My primary purpose is to look after the employees and make sure they are resourced to provide the best customer support to the Army for the DLA-managed items they need,” he said. “The Army Division has more planes than any service and provides support to more than 214,000 national items numbers supporting more than 10 Army weapons systems.

Hopkins said his leadership style is open and approachable.

“It’s important to get the job done and take care of the team,” he said. “But, I like to take time for fun and important family events too.” Hopkins grew up as an Army “brat” in Northern Virginia and this is his third assignment to the District of Columbia area. When not working, he said he likes to spend time with his wife who is a horse enthusiast, and golf, fish and crab with his 11-year-old son.