News | Feb. 24, 2022

DLA Energy celebrates African Americans past and present

By DLA Energy Public Affairs

Honoring African Americans both past and present, Defense Logistics Agency Energy celebrated their accomplishments in a virtual Black History Celebration Feb. 15. 

Nearly 300 employees from across the entire agency participated in the discussion and listened to keynote speaker and honored guest, Army Maj. Gen. Charles Hamilton

Hamilton, who has been selected for promotion to lieutenant general, is the U.S. Army G-4 Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff and previous DLA Troop Support Commander. He highlighted accounts of notable African American men and women including Dorothy Vaughan, Katherine Johnson, Mary Jackson, and General Roscoe Robinson Jr in his remarks. He encouraged the workforce to set their sights high and to honor the past by building on their accomplishments.

“Our unity is our strength, and our diversity is our power,” Hamilton said, quoting Vice President of the United States Kamala Harris. “Use your powers for good. Despite your credentials, rank, experience, etc. you can still face challenges. You have to do the right thing and overcome obstacles and roadblocks with competence and kindness.”

Referencing a Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. speech to students, he asked the audience to think about their “life’s blueprint,” their goals, actions, and opportunities for their future. 

DLA Energy Deputy Commander David Kless provided comments and thanked Hamilton for his time and wise words. He reiterated Hamilton’s comments, encouraging listeners to have a blueprint and to not allow cultural fears to get in the way of achieving goals.  

“Thank you everyone for taking time to join us for this very special event,” Kless said. “Black History Month is a time and opportunity to recognize the central role African Americans played across U.S. history.”

The event included an informative and engaging panel discussion with DLA Energy leadership and peers about what black history means to them, what events they celebrate, and how they continue to honor the legacy of those who came before them. 

The panel consisted of Army Col. Raphael Heflin, DLA Energy Americas commander; Martha Gray, Utility Services Division director; Theodore Jones, Policy and Procedures Division chief; Ella Warren, Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Coordinator and Chair of the Diversity and Inclusion Committee; and Byron Phillips, Direct Delivery Fuels Division contract specialist.

Listeners were introduced to the African American National Anthem “Lift Every Voice and Sing” sung by the United States Army Field Band and the 82nd Airborne Division.  

“It was the best African-American heritage and celebratory event I have ever attended in any workplace including as a former educator, former active-duty military, former consultant, and just over 16 years of civilian service across various agencies!” said Vanese Grant, DLA Energy Business Process Support analyst. “Kudos to the planning team, facilitators, and presenters who made wonderful things happen! It was very refreshing, encouraging, rewarding, inspirational, and rejuvenating!”

Throughout February, in honor of Black History Month, you can read about DLA Energy employees who are honoring their history and making a difference through their accomplishments both in their workplace and community. Learn more about DLA Chief of Staff and former DLA Energy Deputy Commander Eric Smith, DLA Energy Equal Employment Opportunity Director Adam Morrison and DLA Energy Okinawa Deputy Operations Chief Jose Malonda.