News | April 26, 2022

DLA Aviation at San Diego team members welcome new commander

By Cathy Hopkins DLA Aviation Public Affairs Office

San Diego team members from Defense Logistics Agency Aviation gathered April 22 to welcome Navy Commander Fred Albesa as their new commander, while saying farewell to Navy Commander Maxine Gardner who assumed command in 2020.

DLA Aviation Deputy Commander Charlie Lilli officiated the ceremony.

“Nowhere in the DLA enterprise is it easier to see what we mean when we say, “Warfighter Always,” said Lilli. “It’s our north star … It’s a personal and professional commitment … made by every member of our team. Look around and you can see it everywhere.  You stand ready 24/7, doing everything possible to meet every requirement, not because it’s your job, but because you are completely committed to the warfighter.  You know that you have been entrusted with a critical role, retail support provider … to the organization that is at the heart of Naval Aviation readiness … a responsibility taken with a somber sense of urgency and fierce sense of pride! Thank you all for all you do!”

Lilli spoke about the unprecedented challenges of these last two years brought on by COVID-19 and praised Gardner’s leadership through the pandemic.

“Through it all, Maxine remained calm and confident … accessing situations, developing effective solutions and providing a steady and unwavering commitment to mission that set the tone for the entire team,” he said.

DLA Aviation Deputy Commander Charlie Lilli presents Navy Cmdr. Maxine Gardner with the Defense Meritorious Service Medal.
Defense Logistics Agency Aviation Deputy Commander Charlie Lilli presents Navy Commander Maxine Gardner with the Defense Meritorious Service Medal at a change of command ceremony for DLA Aviation at San Diego, April 22, 2022, held on Naval Air Station, North Island, Coronado, California. Gardner assumed commanded of the activity in 2020. (Photo by Christopher Nette, Fleet Readiness Center Southwest Public Affairs)
DLA Aviation Deputy Commander Charlie Lilli presents Navy Cmdr. Maxine Gardner with the Defense Meritorious Service Medal.
DLA Aviation at San Diego team members welcome new commander
Defense Logistics Agency Aviation Deputy Commander Charlie Lilli presents Navy Commander Maxine Gardner with the Defense Meritorious Service Medal at a change of command ceremony for DLA Aviation at San Diego, April 22, 2022, held on Naval Air Station, North Island, Coronado, California. Gardner assumed commanded of the activity in 2020. (Photo by Christopher Nette, Fleet Readiness Center Southwest Public Affairs)
Photo By: Christopher Nette
VIRIN: 220422-N-XC190-1002

He highlighted her efforts and the teams’ including virtual training techniques, improved supportability analysis, Gross Demand Planning gap analysis and improved data visualization.

He said these improvements made it possible for DLA to meet or exceed our negotiated performance -based agreement goals and for our customer, [Fleet Readiness Center Southwest] to meet both component and aircraft production goals two years running.

As Gardner took the podium, she told Lilli she could not have asked for a better leadership team in him and DLA Aviation Commander Air Force Brig. Gen. David Sanford.

“The wisdom you imparted during this tour, navigating through COVID, always eager to assist me/the team in eliminating barriers. You are a true champion for the fleet,” she said. “Your guidance over the course of some of the most uncertain times socially, politically, and financially was instrumental in the success of this team. I will forever approach certain situations by attempting to channel your ‘be the hero’ mantra.”

Gardner gave her heartfelt thanks to her senior leadership team at San Diego: Charlie Haury, Darrin Clark and Barry Haynes.

“The three of you are the bedrock upon which this team stands,” she said. “I leaned heavily on the three of you and your supervisors and you always delivered.”

Lilli welcomed Navy Commander Fred Albesa to the team, saying Gardner will no doubt be a hard act to follow.

“Your talent, commitment and new perspective will make us better and I look forward to seeing what you can do,” Lilli told Albesa.

Lilli then shared a thought on leadership with him.

“In my view, great leaders focus on the team … align their individual talents and collective efforts with mission critical objectives, get out of their way, and find pure joy in their achievements,” he said. “With a team like the one we are entrusting you with … if you are a great leader, you have some very happy days ahead!  So … clear eyes and pure heart … it’s your turn to lead … lead well.”

Albesa thanked Gardner for the exceptional turnover she provided to him these past few days.

“DLA Aviation at San Diego is well known for providing superior logistical support and is a vital part of the aviation community at Naval Air Station North Island,” said Albesa, speaking to his new command for the first time. “As your new commander, I guarantee my total commitment to furthering the legacy of our world-class organization and to providing only excellence with aviation logistics support and that will always include the best possible customer service.”