DLA Aviation-Cherry Point welcomes new commander

By Cathy Hopkins DLA Aviation Public Affairs Office

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In a virtual ceremony held May 28, Defense Logistics Agency Aviation Commander Air Force Brig. Gen. David Sanford welcomed Navy Cmdr. Isaac May as the new DLA Aviation – Cherry Point commander. May assumed command from Navy Cmdr. Keith Klemm. Klemm, who had held the position since 2017, was also recognized in a retirement ceremony immediately following the change of command.

Sanford virtually welcomed participants and online attendees from his Washington, D.C. location, where he is currently on a special assignment as the deputy of the COVID-19 Supply Chain Task Force with the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

He thanked attendees for their participation and patience during these unprecedented times. Ceremony attendance at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, North Carolina, was limited to participants and immediate family due to continued social distancing restrictions associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I regret that we all are not able to come together in one place to honor these two outstanding officers as they start new chapters in their lives but as commanders, our first thoughts must always be the safety of our people and their families.” Sanford said.

Sanford told attendees that nowhere is DLA Aviation’s purpose clearer than where we are co-located with our military customers. The DLA Aviation team at Cherry Point is on the front line, providing intelligence to ensure readiness for our joint warfighters.

During his time in command, Klemm developed a customer-center culture, promoting close communications within his team, Fleet Readiness Center East and the local union.

As a result of the team’s efforts and Klemm’s focus on the benefits of accurate planning, parts material availability improved to record high levels from 90.7% to 94.9% and fill rate improved from 90.2% to 94.5%.

“Leadership implies action,” Sanford said. “Keith doesn’t have a shortage of energy; he gets the job done and done well. He is a phenomenal leader, humble and unassuming. We need more like him in today’s service.”

“To the team at Cherry Point, thank you for your dedication, ensuring the readiness of our warfighters,” Sanford said. “Commander Klemm thank you for your leadership and guidance over the years.”

“Commander May, you are getting a great team, and DLA Aviation – Cherry Point is getting a well-qualified Navy officer,” Sanford said.

May previously served as the chief of the Logistics Future Operations for the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command at Camp H. M. Smith in Halawa, Hawaii. As chief, he was responsible for logistics support for contingency plans, crisis response, operations, actions and investments across INDO-PACOM directorates.

Sanford told May as he assumes command to never forget our purpose - warfighter first.

“Remember you and the team here are part of the bigger team,” Sanford said, adding the Cherry Point team gives signals to drive procurement and priorities.

Sanford went on to tell May the pride this organization feels will depend on May’s support and leadership.

Sanford said build relationships, engage the joint warfighter, the community, union representatives and other support providers - define retail solutions, improve processes and leverage key supplier relationships.

Following Sanford, Klemm took to the podium.

“We work some of the most challenging aircraft systems here,” Klemm said. “We get the job done working side-by-side, day-after-day with teams here, in Richmond, at DLA Troop Support and DLA Land and Maritime.”

Klemm said it is teamwork that allows DLA Aviation – Cherry Point to achieve historic records in performance.

Following the official change of command and passing of the flag, May spoke thanking the DLA Aviation – Cherry Point team for the warm and wonderful welcome.

May’s wife, Brittanie, presented Klemm’s wife, Joy, with a family sign.

“To help start your Forever Home, this Klemm Family sign will help those roots take hold,” she said. “Joy, thank you for all you’ve done for us and we’re so excited for what the next chapter brings!"

“I’m excited to command at DLA Aviation and thank you General Sanford for the opportunity to serve and the trust and confidence you have in me. It means a lot,” May said.

In closing May said the team successes under Klemm were incredible and as he continues to learn the Cherry Point mission, he is continually amazed at the amount of support the team provides to the warfighter.