Many co-workers, friends and family filled the Community Recreation Center on Defense Supply Center, Richmond, Virginia, Feb. 5 as Defense Logistics Agency Aviation’s Secretary to the Commander Annette Fryar, retired with 27 years of distinguished and dedicated federal service in a ceremony officiated by DLA Director Air Force Lt. Gen. Andy Busch.
Fryar served as Busch’s secretary in his former position as DLA Aviation commander.
Many prior DLA Aviation Hall of Fame recipients attended, as well as current and retired DLA Aviation senior staff and DLA senior executive service members.
DLA Aviation Commander Air Force Brig. Gen. Allan Day kicked off the event and said, “I have never had an executive assistant who has brought the level of confidence, professionalism, and care for a boss that Annette has brought to me as commander.”
Day presented Fryar with the DLA Aviation Commander’s Plaque in appreciation for her federal service.
Speaking to Fryar Busch said, “It is a privilege to retire someone who is thought of so kindly, is widely respected and, in 20 years of conducting retirements, I have never used this word to describe someone’s retirement … someone as adored as you are. Your impact on the larger aviation community and everyone who comes in contact with the Commander of DLA Aviation … that contact experience is shaped by your pleasing personality and wonderful disposition."
Busch said Fryar spent the last 23 years of her 29 years in federal service here at DSCR, and he said, “I think it’s impressive when someone moves to the absolute pinnacle in their career field. Your performance has been exceptional.”
Busch said Fryar received 17 performance awards, scheduled over a thousand flag-level meetings and added, “this is significant, because it has to be the pinnacle of frustration.” Fryar has gone through over a dozen senior leadership changes. “Frankly, you have the patience of a saint,” he said.
He continued by passing on messages from previous commanders who were not able to attend and said all of them extended accolades of appreciation and well wishes.
Busch spoke highly of Fryar’s fierce loyalty, high standards, and professionalism. He also shared many fun stories from his previous experience’s working with Fryar as the DLA Aviation commander, as well as some heart felt comments.
Fryar was presented with the distinguished career service award for her 27 years of dedicated and exemplary federal service, and a retirement certificate and pin.
Fryar took the floor and gave her sincere thanks to Busch, as well as all of the former DLA Aviation commanders she served.
Fryar continued sharing fun stories of her experiences as secretary to the commander and the different personalities of commanders and learning their individual leadership styles, and all that entails.
She gave a special recognition to the four aide-de-camps she had served with and recognized them as being ‘superb,’ and the cream of the crop. “It has been an honor and a privilege to serve with you and I know you will go far in your careers. When you pin on your flag, I want to be there to celebrate with you,” said Fryar.
A reception followed the ceremony where friends and coworkers said their personal goodbyes.
In a recent interview, Fryar shared a few lessons she has learned about resiliency in working for DLA Aviation.
Resiliency is defined as an act of persevering, recovering, and growing during continuous change and stressors in life. Practicing resilience allows employees to balance, overcome and grow from life’s struggles, failures and roadblocks.
Fryar said she has had 14 bosses during her civil service career which began in Mannheim, Germany as a General Schedule (GS)-04 Troop Support education technician. Upon returning to the states in 1993, she began work at Defense Supply Center Richmond, Virginia, as a GS-06 Secretary for a former DSCR Contracting Division chief. Fryar had no idea that her future would include becoming the DLA Aviation commander’s secretary.
Serving as the secretary to the commander since 2009, Fryar said her advice, to anyone following in her footsteps and facing challenges or a new environment, is to remain resilient, accept and push through challenges with a positive attitude, expect the best from people, always remain professional, and to always do what you can to help the command succeed.
Fryar said that being resilient is just a fact of life - from standing your ground when you are right, to telling the truth in all circumstances, and even to being married to the same wonderful man for 43 years. “It takes resiliency,” said Fryar.
She also said that she had been very fortunate over the years and always felt highly appreciated, but when asked if she had any challenges over the years she said “yes, yes, yes I have,” but she declined to elaborate on specifics.
When discussing conflicts she may have run into over the years, Fryar said if an issue came up she would always try to look introspectively to determine if she had done something to cause a misunderstanding. She would also ask herself if there was something she could learn from this situation that she could put in her prevention tool kit to keep it from happening again. “I want to learn it, so I don’t have to repeat it,” she said.
Fryar said her official job title is listed as a command support analyst, but she said she is ‘old’ and ‘old school,’ and prefers to be called a secretary. “Because when I answer the phone ‘secretary to the commander,’ people know exactly who they are speaking to;” said Fryar. “If I answer as command support analyst, the caller wasn’t sure if they have the correct office.” “I loved being a secretary,” she said. “One of the liberties I appreciated most about the job is knowing that if I had a problem or something to discuss, I could step into the commander’s office and ask if this is a good time, and talk to him one-on-one.”
From her perspective, Fryar said, “If you want to be resilient you have to have a prayer life and to accept that the Lord will get you through whatever challenge is in front of you. I know I pray more; it’s the source of my strength.”
“It has been my pleasure and honor to know and work in this organization and with our military, knowing that we are all striving to make a difference in the support of our warfighters,” said Fryar. She said her DLA roots run deep, and truly feels that DLA is part of her DNA.
Fryar said now it was time for another change, to retire and spend more time with grandbabies and playing golf.