In a ceremony rich with Navy traditions, Air Force Brig. Gen. Allan Day, Defense Logistics Agency Aviation commander, hosted a change of command and retirement ceremony for outgoing DLA Aviation at Jacksonville Site Commander Navy Cmdr. Maurice Meagher, III and incoming Navy Cmdr. Daniel Bessman at Hangar 117 on Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Florida, May 25.
Welcoming community members and aviation partners to the ceremony, Day explained the “why” and the “how” of the Jacksonville mission.
“Why do we do what we do?” Day asked. “We do it solely to generate readiness for the warfighter. When the joint warfighter has the parts, the tools, the stuff they need, then we are doing our job right. If they don’t, then we are doing something wrong and we’ve got to get it right.”
Addressing Meagher directly, Day said that he’d had the challenge of marshalling people, resources and processes to improve the readiness posture for the DLA Aviation enterprise.
“Right up front, I want to express my appreciation for all you have done here to lead the men and women of this dedicated workforce,” Day said. “You’ve dedicated three years of your career here – and 25 years of your life in service to the nation. That’s a big deal. The Sailors, Marines, Soldiers, Airmen and Coast Guardsmen are the benefactors of your great wisdom and your ability to be impartial.”
Day talked about the significant milestones Meagher achieved while commanding DLA Aviation’s Jacksonville site.
“One of the biggest has been successfully implementing DLA’s Inventory Management and Stock Positioning Spiral II system,” Day said. “This IMSP implementation was like changing the motor of our vehicle while maneuvering it through an obstacle course during Meagher’s time here.”
IMSP is a computer system that touches all of DLA: the engine that drives the organization’s business.
In addition to impacting the organization’s ability to operate as a single enterprise while ensuring financial accountability to our nation, Meagher and his team reduced the percentage of unfilled orders in two categories while increasing material availability and timeliness.
Day commended Meagher for establishing a healthy, productive employee culture.
“He’s done a fantastic job here,” Day said.
Turning his attention toward the future with Bessman at the helm, Day highlighted the complex threats the U.S. faces from advanced forces in places like Russia, China, Iran, North Korea and from violent extremists.
“Today we need all the readiness we can get in the hands of our warfighters to ensure the president has a range of options to defend our nation and our allies,” Day said. “Our nation requires boldness, innovation and resolve and I think we have found the right leader in Cmdr. Daniel Bessman. He has done all the right things throughout his career to prepare himself for this tremendous responsibility and opportunity.”
He urged the new commander to never forget our “why” or “purpose,” and encouraged him to continue to develop relationships with customers and suppliers.
“We are here to deliver the right solutions on time, every time to the Fleet Readiness Center Southeast team and the joint warfighter,” Day said. “Our warfighters are impatient for more readiness and we can’t get it alone.”
In his remarks following the ceremonial exchange of command, Meagher praised the DLA Aviation at Jacksonville workforce.
“Regardless of the adversity or roadblocks, the DLA Aviation Jax team gets the job done,” he said.
Echoing the improvements Day spoke about and highlighting a few of the challenges they faced, Meagher said the team proved their adaptability, dedication, material support expertise and resiliency supporting the FRCSE requirements.
“This success does not come without a lot of effort and hard work,” he said. “I couldn’t be more proud to say I am soon to be an alumnus of the DLA Aviation at Jacksonville team that will continue to do well into the future.”
Bessman kept his remarks short thanking his family for their support and Meagher for teaching him about the job he faces in Jacksonville.
“This morning, as I look at the representatives of the organizations engaged here in Jacksonville, I feel privileged to be joining this critical effort at such a pivotal time,” he said.
Citing the nation’s return to a great power competition, Bessman said the Navy must be prepared to respond to the threats out there.
“Russia and China have advanced their military capabilities to act as global powers,” he said. “The Russian navy is operating with frequency and in areas not seen for almost two decades, and the Chinese navy is extending its reach around the world.”
Bessman emphasized the importance of partnerships while working to maintain, repair and overhaul the Navy’s aircraft, engines and components to sustain the U.S. armed forces.
“We cannot accomplish this mission without working together,” he said. “Each organization on NAS Jacksonville and within the Naval Fleet Enterprise brings tremendous commitment and unique skills and attributes to this team of teams. We will stand shoulder-to-shoulder with each of these teams so our young men and women may face any enemy with the full might of America.”
Immediately following the change of command, Day retired Meagher after 25 years as a naval officer.
“Moe has shown himself to be a superb officer who was always willing to mentor young Sailors,” Day said.
Playfully summing up his career in a short list, Cmdr. Meagher hit the highlights.
“I’m not much of a numbers guy, but after 25 years, 12 moves, eight states, one foreign country, two ships, 12 fitreps signed by eight different flag or general officers, one wife, five daughters and one Villanova University NCAA Basketball Championship … it’s time to move onto something new,” Meagher said.
With his feet planted firmly in the present, Meagher looked to his past for his family’s future.
“It is somewhat ironic that some of the things that kept me in the Navy— like not wanting to go back to my hometown (population about 5,000) and needing to support a family and children are drivers in my decision to retire now,” he said. “I’m ready to go back to Honesdale, Pennsylvania and spend more time with my wife and my parents, as well as allow my children and parents an opportunity to be a bigger part of each other’s lives and to raise my children in a small town environment.”