RICHMOND, VA –
Employee spotlight regularly features outstanding non-supervisory personnel from throughout the Defense Logistics Agency Aviation and other DLA employees on Defense Supply Center Richmond, Virginia. Organizational directors may submit names of employees they wish to feature in this column to DLA Aviation Public Affairs. For more information, call (804) 279-3139.
Name: Cherokee Frye
Organization: DLA Aviation-Cherry Point
Years of Service: 3.5 years
What is your job title, and what do you do, specifically?
I am a Sustainment Specialist at DLA Aviation-Cherry Point. I determine the sustainability of material across all sources of supply for current and future workloads for the 4T Planner Code, consisting of components. I strive to mitigate sustainability constraints, while providing our customers with material readiness to complete their tasks at hand.
What do you like most about your job?
I love the fact that I get to work hand in hand with our military. Growing up in a military family it was always a goal of mine to follow the family tradition of joining the Marine Corps. Unfortunately, I had a hard pill to swallow when I was medically disqualified. I found myself a home with DLA that allows me to support our war fighters, and that brings me the most joy.
What kind(s) of training and education helps your work performance in your current role?
I feel the best training is hands on training in the workplace, and I have been fortunate to be surrounded by a handful of knowledgeable mentors in the short time I’ve been on the team. I started out as customer support specialist and when I transitioned to sustainment, I went in not knowing the full scope of what the position really entailed. It goes without saying that I would not be in the position I’m in today without their guidance, mentorship and leadership. I have spent countless hours soaking up as much knowledge as I can to better myself as sustainment specialist.
As a sustainment specialist, how has your workload been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic?
My work hasn’t been affected nearly as bad as some other areas of DLA. As a sustainment specialist, I already telework a few times a week, so when the message was released that we would telework all five days there was minimal to no adjustment for me. We know our mission, what is expected of us and how we should conduct business. The week to week schedule hasn’t changed much and we still have our weekly meetings to ensure we are being held accountable for meeting deadlines. For now, this is the new normal for the foreseeable future, so I am making the best of the situation. I am grateful to have a job and the means to continue working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic.
What have been the challenges?
The main challenge for me through this entire COVID-19 pandemic is the lack of human interaction. I look forward to the day we are allowed to return to our offices and have those face to face interactions. I believe I can speak for everyone when saying this, being in a “lockdown” scenario has really shown me how much we take the small things for granted. I am counting down the days to being able to return work. That being said and given the circumstances, I am motivated to continue supporting the warfighter from home.
If you could speak directly to the warfighters you support, what would you tell them?
First off, I want to thank them. I grew up in the Marine Corps. I know what’s expected from them, and I know it is not always easy. From an outsider’s perspective as well as having first-hand experience as a son of an always deploying Marine, I have seen the good, the bad, and the ugly impact a mission can have on an active duty service member. I am truly humbled and thankful for all that you do and all that you sacrifice for this great nation.
What advice would you have given yourself 10 years ago?
10 years ago, I was 16, so knowing what I know now, I would’ve told myself not to put all your eggs in one basket because life will throw you a curve ball a time or two, and that even though times may seem tough, you need to stay positive and keep moving forward, because everything will be all right.
Where do you see yourself five years from now?
In my personal life, I see myself married to my fiancé, with a good possibility of some little ones running around. Career wise, I am investing in my education so that as I continue growing as a DLA team player, I will mentor, guide, and lead the next up and coming DLA employees.
What is/are your favorite book(s), television show(s) or movie(s)?
I am a “Star Wars” nerd, but I also hold “Jurassic Park” pretty high on my favorites list. It’s a tossup between the two. I’ve taken my fiancé with me to multiple midnight premieres, even if she was reluctant to go.
What are some of your passions outside of work?
This a super cliché response, but I’m passionate about travelling. Anyone who knows me around the office knows I am always on the move. I can never stay stagnate for too long. I am the worst when it comes to booking a last minute flight or hopping in the car to just get out of town for a few days, it’s nice to have that luxury. This makes the day to day grind worth it in my opinion.
What is your favorite military aircraft? Why?
I would have to say the V-22 Osprey. I did a brief stint on Marine Corps Air Station New River, Jacksonville, North Carolina as the customer support specialist for the V-22 program, where I got to know the aircraft real well. With all the challenges associated with it, there is nothing more rewarding than watching Fleet Readiness Center East, Cherry Point, North Carolina induct a V-22 and then watching it fly off to the fleet after the work and repairs are completed. The satisfaction in knowing I played a vital role in ensuring our customer had the material needed to get that aircraft to completion is hard to surpass. It is what makes working for DLA rewarding.