DLA Land and Maritime leadership changes hands during change of command ceremony.

By Michael Jones DLA Land and Maritime Public Affairs

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Leadership transitioned in Columbus, Ohio as the Defense Logistics Agency Land and Maritime Commander, Navy Rear Adm. John T. Palmer turned over command to Navy Rear Adm. Kristen B. Fabry in a July 17, 2020 change of command ceremony. Fabry also assumed command of the Defense Supply Center Columbus as a dual command responsibility. The event was held in a pavilion area on the Defense Supply Center Columbus.

Acting DLA Director Mr. Michael D. Scott officiated the ceremony virtually from DLA Headquarters in Fort Belvoir, Virginia. Scott offered accolades to Palmer for his inspiring leadership which guided Land and Maritime in posting some impressive record setting performance metrics.

“Ladies and gentlemen, John came to us two years ago already understanding the organizational dynamics of the Agency. He knew who we served, and he’s excelled in all of the challenges put before him,” Scott said.

Speaking further on the importance of exceptional leadership, Scott said Fabry is a focused leader and a Warfighter’s logistician who will get the job done. “I know you will ensure that our Warfighters get the support they need – whenever and wherever they need it. DLA could not have picked a better leader to take the reins. You’re the right person, picked at the right time, and the DLA Land and Maritime Team is excited to welcome you.”

The ceremony’s military protocol reflected time-honored customs and traditions observed during Navy change of commands, while incorporating nuanced COVID-19 safety protocols.

After accepting command, Fabry thanked her family for their support throughout her career, special guests, fellow colleagues she shared assignments with. She acknowledged Palmer’s skillful leadership during his command tenure and expressed her appreciation for the opportunity to become DLA Land and Maritime’s new commander. Fabry’s previous assignment was as the Director, Logistics, Fleet Supply and Ordnance, U.S. Pacific Fleet.

Acknowledging DLA Land and Maritime as a world class logistics organization, Fabry shared her motivation about joining the Land and Maritime team and guaranteed her total commitment to furthering the organization’s legacy. That stellar reputation is why I was thrilled to receive work that I was selected as DLA Land and Maritime commander,” Fabry said.

“I’m relishing the opportunity to roll up my sleeves, dig in, and help Land and Maritime successfully solve future logistics challenges. Tackling them together, we’ll make sure America’s military services continue to receive the superior level of logistics support they demand. I’m Honored and Thrilled to be aboard, Warfighter First – Let’s get to it!”

The change of command ceremony concluded with an official Navy cake cutting event. In true COVID-19 fashion, cupcakes were substituted for the traditional cake as an additional preventive health precaution.

A retirement ceremony for Palmer followed immediately with Deputy Director, DLA Land and Maritime, Mr. Ken Watson officiating.  Watson presented Palmer with his retirement certificate, a retirement service award and additional mementos from his assignment.

Palmer struck a tone of thankfulness during his retirement remarks. He honored influential mentors while recounting experiences from his Naval career and treasured his family’s ability to successfully blend a supportive family life with a military career. Palmer was surprised when his son John (Jr.) showed up, after initially saying he wouldn’t be able to attend this special moment with his dad.

Fellow Navy Supply Corps officers also surprised Palmer with a basketball signed by the group. Palmer frequently visited Land and Maritime associates during the workday and his arrivals were announced by the approaching sound of basketball dribbling.

“How thankful I am,” Palmer said with admiration to members of his senior leadership team for their outstanding support during his command tenure.

“It is an honor to complete my career working with such a fine group of professionals providing outstanding logistics support to our Warfighters,” Palmer said. 

The ceremony concluded with Palmer requesting permission to go ashore one last time from Fabry. Palmer was piped off and culminated a magnificent 32-year Navy career.