News | May 13, 2021

Preparing to take command

By Irene Smith DLA Energy Public Affairs

Seven prospective Defense Logistics Agency Energy commanding officers and two departing commanders participated in a pre-command orientation at the McNamara Headquarters Complex, Fort Belvoir, Virginia, May 6-7.

With seven regional change of commands scheduled for June and July, the two-day course is designed to prepare commanders for their role and responsibilities as fuel providers to Combatant Commanders.

“Strap your boots on and get ready because we have a lot of great things going on,” said Eric Smith, DLA Energy Deputy Commander in his welcoming remarks. “This course will provide you with the necessary tools and information to be successful in your new assignment.”

For DLA Energy Commander Air Force Brig. Gen. Jimmy Canlas, the pre-command orientation offered the first opportunity to have face-to-face interaction with several of his prospective regional commanders. 

“The next few days will be packed with information,” Canlas said. “In many ways, they will parallel your command tour because things are going to go by fast. But you have a great crew here at Headquarters ready to support you. The regions are on the leading edge and are our forward presence. You don’t work for us; we work for you.”

Fuel distribution challenges, manpower issues, equal opportunity and contracting were a few of the topics covered by DLA Energy subject matter experts.

The incoming DLA Energy Europe & Africa Commander Army Lt. Col. Benverren Fortune was surprised by the depth and breath of DLA Energy operations.

“I was amazed by how much fuel DLA Energy procures and how large an organization it as compared to commercial industries,” Fortune said. “In terms of buying fuel, we’re number four, after United Airlines.” 

After two years in command in Houston, Texas, DLA Energy Americas East Commander Amy Lt. Col. Julian Perez shared his experiences and advice.

“If you haven’t worked with civilians before, the DLA Energy team has people with 20 to 40 years of experience,” Perez said. “If you allow them to do their jobs, you’ll be amazed by what they’ll do to support you and the warfighter.”

Sharing experiences and lessons learned while in command was a common theme throughout the course. 

“The wealth of information from the conversations and briefings will help carry me forward through command,” said Air Force Maj. Alberto Cordova, incoming DLA Energy Middle East commander.  “The relationship building and the opportunity to meet my fellow commanders and DLA Energy staff was invaluable.”

This summer is full of changes in leadership across DLA Energy regional offices. They include:
DLA Energy Okinawa change of command is scheduled for May 27.  Air Force Maj. Anthony Anderson will assume command from Air Force Lt. Col. Tracy Gilmore.
DLA Energy Americas East change of command in Houston, Texas, is planned for June 3.  Army Lt. Col. Christopher Masson will assume command from Army Lt. Col. Julian Perez. 
DLA Energy Europe & Africa change of command in Germany is scheduled for June 4. Army Lt. Col. Benverren Fortune will assume command from Army Lt. Col. Donna Welch.
DLA Energy Indo-Pacific change of command in Honolulu, Hawaii, is scheduled for June 18. Navy Cmdr. William Jakubowicz will assume command from Navy Cmdr. Eric Lockett.
DLA Energy South-West Pacific change of command in Guam is scheduled for June 25.  Navy Cmdr. Christopher Radke will assume command from Navy Cmdr. Angela Watson.
DLA Energy Americas North change of command is scheduled to take place at Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska, on July 30.  Air Force Maj. Land Barton will assume command from Air Force Maj. Marcus McWilliams.
DLA Energy Middle East change of command date is yet to be determined where Air Force Maj. Alberto “Al” Cordova will assume command from Air Force Lt. Col. Jennifer Neris.