Director of DLA Distribution Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Retires with 50 Years of Service

By Dawn Bonsell, DLA Distribution Public Affairs

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With 50 years of service to the federal government, Defense Logistics Agency Distribution Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Director Ned LaViolette, Jr. retires Sept. 25. A native of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, LaViolette’s career spans the globe, from Asia and Central America, to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. His last stop at Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, is where he spent the majority of his years and where he made his home.  

LaViolette’s outstanding service was recognized in a letter from DLA Director Army LTG Darrell K. Williams, who said, “You effectively accomplished a multitude of projects and programs in support of the warfighter. The experience you brought to DLA affected the lives of many civilians and troops. Your accomplishments were felt throughout the globe because you put the ‘Warfighter First’ and will forever be remembered as a true military and civilian warrior of the most honorable class.”

A retired Air Force colonel and Vietnam Veteran, Laviolette retired from the Air Force as a colonel with 39 years of service, having also served in the Cold War, Urgent Fury, KAL 007 and Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Business Management, as well as a Master of Arts in International Relations and Procurement Management from Webster University, St. Louis, Missouri, and a Master of Arts in National Security and Strategic Studies from the Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island. He was commissioned as a second Lieutenant in 1977 from Officer Training School, where he went on to serve as the Material Support and Materiel Management Officer with the 1606th Supply Squadron at Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico, until 1979. He then became the Chief of Materiel Support Section and Chief of Customer Support Branch with the 25th Supply Squadron at Howard AFB, Panama until 1981. LaViolette has commanded an AWACS flight, a supply squadron, two Joint Task Force Full Accounting Detachments in Thailand and Cambodia, and a logistics group. He has accumulated more than 4,500 flying hours in the E-3 AWACS aircraft. From September 2005 until November 2007, he served as the E-3 AWACS Aircraft System Support Manager at the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Center.  

From March 2008 until assuming his current position, he was the DLA Base Realignment and Closure Air Force Team Program management officer at DLA, Fort Belvoir, Virginia. There he led over a dozen integrated process teams in the transfer of retail supply, storage and distribution functions to include over 800 personnel and consolidation of over $500 million of DLA-managed, Air Force-owned retail inventory at the three Air Logistics Centers as mandated by BRAC law. In 2009, he returned to Oklahoma as the Director of DLA Distribution Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, where his business management experience paid off. He established a blade/vane project by procuring special packaging to prevent damage to vanes and blades as they touch metal to metal during shipping, then trained employees in the proper handling of blades and vanes. He also collocated a Preservation, Packaging, Packing, and Marking hub in the center of the busiest warehouse, greatly reducing the Z to A time, the time in which it takes for the Air Force’s reimbursement of assets.

In 2014, during the worst of the Ebola epidemic, several emergency shipments were erroneously ordered for ground transportation versus overnight air. When the customer error was discovered, LaViolette “stopped the world” and engaged a group from the distribution center to respond. Within four hours, his team tracked every shipment throughout the distribution center and re-routed them via overnight air. He and his employees received a Defense Humanitarian Award for this effort. 
In 2015, he was responsible for an innovative project that identifies DLA-managed material tied to a possible back order. This project allows the material to remain close to the shipping area rather than have it transferred to a storage location in a different warehouse where the system must track it down to issue to the customer within 24-48 hours. This project saves the distribution center time and labor, which benefits both DLA and the warfighter.  Also in 2015, under LaViolette’s leadership, DDOO received an energy conservation award, a direct reflection of Mr. LaViolette’s determination to reduce energy throughout all the buildings DLA Distribution occupies.

LaViolette accomplished all of these milestones in addition to reversing the Culture Climate Survey results. He is a people person and handles every employee and every situation with the utmost diplomacy. His attention to detail and, more importantly, his dedication to safety, is second to none. He led by example with a pristine business acumen.
Throughout his Air Force career, his many accomplishments garnered him the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster, Bronze Star Medal, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal with Five oak leaf clusters, Air medal with three oak leaf clusters, Aerial Achievement Medal, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal, Air Force Achievement Medal, Combat Readiness Medal, National Defense Service Medal with one service star, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Vietnam Service Medal with four service stars, Southwest Asia Service Medal with two stars, Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with palm, republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal, Kuwait Liberation Medal (Saudi Arabian government), Kuwait Liberation Medal (Kuwait) and the Meritorious Civilian Service Award.

LaViolette exhibited traits throughout his career that were highly sought after in a Federal employee—a selfless devotion to the mission and warfighter, an ability to set priorities, establish and achieve objectives and plan the proper use of resources. He contributed greatly to the ability of Defense Logistics Agency to provide excellent service to its customers. According to LaViolette, “I was taught at a young age a strong and quality work ethic by my family. Success both in military and civilian workforce resulted from learning every aspect of my job and doing my job to the very best of my ability, which led to jobs with higher responsibility and promotions.”

LaViolette’s commitment to his duties was evidence of his patriotism, fortitude and unwavering loyalty. His motivation and enthusiasm made him one of the most valuable team members at DLA Distribution Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.  His departure, though well deserved and honorably earned, will leave a void that will be hard to fill. In his 50 years of service to our country, LaViolette has been a pronounced steward of the government’s resources. He led by example and mentored many individuals ensuring his legacy would remain in place for many years following his retirement.