Commander bids farewell to Aviation-Cherry Point team during ceremony

By Cathy Hopkins DLA Aviation Public Affairs Office

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Navy Cmdr. Keith Klemm bid farewell to his Defense Logistics Agency Aviation - Cherry Point team during his retirement ceremony May 28. Klemm will officially end his 20-year Navy career Oct. 1.

Earlier that day, Klemm relinquished command to Navy Cmdr. Isaac May in a DLA Aviation – Cherry Point Change of Command ceremony on Marine Corps Air Station, Cherry Point, North Carolina.

A native of Portsmouth, Virginia, Klemm is a graduate of Tennessee Technological University, Cookeville, Tennessee, with a Bachelor of Science in Business Management. He received his commission in August 2000 through the Navy's Officer Candidate School in Pensacola, Florida.

Klemm’s father, retired Rear Adm. Bill Klemm, officiated his son’s retirement ceremony virtually from his Tennessee home.

“Keith, through his service, has carried on a family tradition dating back to 1917,” his father said. “Four generations of our family have served the nation through World War I, World Warr II, Korea and Vietnam.”

Bill Klemm said his son also continued another family tradition which started in WWII, that of at least one brother serving in the Army and one serving in the Navy in each generation.

“Needless to say, the annual Army-Navy Football game has added meaning to the family rivalry. And the fifth generation sits here before you today. Good luck in your future endeavors, boys.” Bill Klemm said referring to his grandsons, who attended the ceremony.

Klemm said his son’s early years set the stage for the future.

“As a Navy Brat, he was literally born into the Naval Service. His first duty station was the Portsmouth Naval Hospital,” Klemm said of his son. “In real time, he has had over 40 years of Navy life.”

Keith Klemm told attendees that he grew up in shipyards all over the states and likes to say he is from the United States of America, not a state, though he does call Tennessee home.

“Seeing the country firsthand as a military dependent while traveling with my family helped me develop a love for adventure and seeing the country,” Keith Klemm said. “It was the reason I joined the Navy.” He thanked his dad for officiating the ceremony today and noted that his dad also swore him in when he began his military career and that he was able to serve for five years on active duty with his father.

On behalf of Bill Klemm, Navy Capt. Mark Nieto, commanding officer for Fleet Readiness Center East at Cherry Point presented Keith Klemm with the Defense Meritorious Service Medal for his “demonstrated unwavering leadership, professionalism and vision through sustained efforts that enhanced parts supportability across Fleet Readiness Center East.”

The citation highlighted that under his leadership, the DLA Aviation-Cherry Point team achieved a record 94.9% material availability for retail piece parts critical to supporting the depot’s $835 million annual revenue tied to 20,000 distinct aircraft components, six aircraft repair production lines, and four engine overhaul production lines.

Nieto also presented Klemm with the DLA Aviation plaque and on behalf of his father, with his retirement certificate while his father read the official citation.

Pam Kelderman, the chief of the Material Management Division, presented Klemm with a shadow box on behalf of the DLA Aviation-Cherry Point team. The shadowbox contained many of his personal awards, past rank insignia and the national flag, which was flown at FRC East in his honor.

In concluding the awards portion of the ceremony, Nieto presented Klemm’s wife and sons with certificates of appreciation for the sacrifices they made as a military family during Klemm’s 20- year Navy career.

Following the awards ceremony, Keith Klemm spoke to his team about a few of the highlights of his career.

Klemm’s first assignment was aboard the USS Juneau (LPD 10) stationed in Sasebo, Japan, from 2001-2003. During his tour on the Mighty “J.” he served as the Sales, Disbursing, Postal, Laundry and Food Service Officer.

He said he thought he knew what he was getting into with a Navy career and tried to prepare his wife, Joy. He said common themes as their family grew to include three sons were changes of assignments, diapers, crying and money, or the lack there of.

Before retiring from active duty as the DLA Aviation - Cherry Point commander, Klemm saw the country with tours in positions of increasing responsibility taking him from Japan, to Maryland, to California, to Washington, to Philadelphia and to Virginia.

Prior to arriving at Cherry Point, Klemm served three years as the senior contracting officer at NATO Allied Command Transformation Headquarters in Norfolk, Virginia.

In closing, Klemm said to his sons, “Jokes aside on crying, diapers and money, we love you and remember that because you are our retirement plan.”

The Klemm’s will be moving to the Knoxville, Tennessee area to get close to extended family.

“With four generations of the family on both sides of our family tree, it will be a great connection to build on,” he said.

Klemm said this wonderful life wouldn’t have been possible without his husband control officer and wife, Joy.

“I look forward to the next chapter,” he said looking at his wife. “Now, let’s go make some new memories.”