News | May 3, 2016

Clothing & Textiles director retires after 30-year Air Force career

By Mikia Muhammad DLA Troop Support Public Affairs

Serving 30 years in the Air Force is a rare commitment, an Air Force senior leader said during a retirement ceremony April 22 in honor of a former Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support supply chain director.

Out of 3,000 colonels in the Air Force, Clothing and Textiles Director Col. Patrick “Spike” Owens is one of the few to have a 30-year career, Lt. Gen. William J. Bender, Office of the Secretary of the Air Force chief of information dominance and chief information officer, said.

“To finish his career here, in an important position, making an enterprise [impact] across the entire U.S. military really demonstrates a unique capability in the Department of Defense,” Bender said.

Owens led C&T for two years, providing 52,000 individual line items to support, in some capacity, every member of the U.S. military across the globe. The supply chain grossed approximately $1.56 billion in sales revenue in fiscal 2015 providing military clothing and equipment.

C&T employees were among Owens’ friends, family, colleagues and fellow military officers attending the ceremony.

Owens commended C&T’s employees for making “minor miracles” every day with the support they provide to military customers.

“What you do is indispensable,” Owens said. “And there’s no backup organization to take care of this large scale acquisition and lifecycle management of our nation’s supply of uniform and protective equipment.”

During the ceremony, Bender presented Owens with the Defense Superior Service Medal for his leadership as C&T’s director. Under Owens’ leadership, C&T maintained a 98 percent fill rate for items supporting the eight service recruit training centers and successfully fielded $3.7 billion worth of Army operational camouflage pattern Army Combat Uniforms within six months.

Bender also presented Owens with a certificate of retirement, a certificate of appreciation from President Barack Obama and a retired Air Force flag.

C&T Deputy Director Keith Ford presented Owens with a shadow box, filled with mementos of Owens’ accomplishments throughout his career.

Owens’ wife Jacquelyn Owens pinned a retirement pin on him before being recognized herself for her support as a military spouse. Bender presented her with an Air Force certificate of appreciation and DLA Troop Support Commander’s Award on behalf of Army Brig. Gen. Charles Hamilton.

She was also presented with flowers on behalf of DLA Troop Support, along with Owens’ mother and his mother-in-law, Gayle.

Owens’ two sons also received Air Force children’s letters of appreciation and participated in a flag folding presentation performed by the 87th Force Support Squadron Honor Guard. The flags used in the ceremony were hand-carried by Owens to multiple locations throughout Southwest Asia and ultimately presented to his sons.

Owens began his military career in 1986 at Purdue University where he was commissioned. Throughout his career has had flying assignments at Strategic Air Command, Air Mobility Command and Air Force Materiel Command.

Owens also commanded the USAF Expeditionary Operations School, 621st Contingency Operations Support Group and the 816th Global Mobility Squadron.