RICHMOND, Va. –
Defense Supply Center Richmond, Virginia, employees gathered in the Center Restaurant June 15 to celebrate the Army’s 241st Birthday. This year’s theme is “The American Soldier – Always Ready, Always Leading.” Defense Logistics Agency Aviation’s Customer Operations Directorate hosted the celebration.
The event started with posting of the colors by U.S. Army, Fort Lee, Virginia, Color Guard led by Sgt. First Class Floyd Phifer, the playing of the national anthem by Fort Lee’s 392nd Army Band brass quintet led by Army Sgt. First Class William Baez, followed by an invocation given by Felicia Barwell, a Customer Operations Directorate weapons system program manager and retired Army lieutenant colonel.
The audience heard congratulatory Army birthday messages from Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley; Under Secretary of the Army Patrick Murphy; and Sgt. Maj. of the Army Daniel Dailey.
Milley’s message praised today’s Soldiers as ‘disciplined, fit and prepared to meet any challenge, any time.”
Murphy, an Iraq war veteran, thanked today’s Soldiers and spoke of how fitting this year’s theme is as America’s Soldiers continue to show their “grit.”
Dailey spoke of the Army’s history, saying the Army is one year older than the nation itself. The Army’s official birthday is June 14, 1775. Dailey said not much has changed from then to today.
It is still leadership’s role to inspire trust, to discipline and take care of our Soldiers, he said.
Following the birthday messages, Paul Hughes, deputy director for Customer Operations, took the stage as the event guest speaker. Hughes is prior military himself, having served in both the Air Force and the Army. He retired from the Army as a chief warrant officer 3 in 1999 and began working for DLA Aviation as a weapons system support manager in 2000.
“While our environment [DLA Aviation’s] isn’t as difficult or dangerous as that of the battlefield, our mission is married to the Army’s and is just as important,” said Hughes. “It is incumbent upon us to be well trained, resilient and confident in performing our mission. …”
Hughes also spoke about this year’s Army theme telling the audience that one of his definitions of leading is “the ability to see a problem and be the solution.”
He said today’s battlefield, enemy and fight are different from any other time in our past, but today as always, leadership and sound decision-making remain critical to success.
He said tactical situations change and the unexpected happens on the battlefield and around DLA, new challenges require new ideas, innovating thinking and the willingness to take risk.
Hughes said he asks himself, “Did I make the right decision, or the easy one? Did my actions improve readiness, or did I go after the good enough solution, so I can leave on time today? Did I help the warfighter or myself?”
DLA’s number one strategic goal is Warfighter First, and as such Hughes said both the Army and DLA share a willingness to recognize problems, and develop and deliver solutions.