AASA O'Keefe hosts former D.C. NG commander's retirement ceremony

The Administrative Assistant to the Secretary of the Army Gerald O’Keefe hosted D.C. National Guard's former Commander Maj. Gen. Errol Schwartz’s retirement ceremony March 19, 2017, on behalf of the Acting Secretary of the Army Robert Speer. It was the closing of his more than 40-year service to the country and was attended by virtually all of the District's leadership and his family as well as the D.C. Guard's Airmen and Soldiers.

Mr. Gerald B. O'Keefe and MG Errol SchwartzMr. Gerald B. O'Keefe and MG Errol Schwartz

USDA recognizes RS-W's food drive contributions

RS-W Feds Feed Families team

OAA’s Resources Services-Washington, or RS-W, was recognized as a Group Silver Hall of Fame donator by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for rallying to collect 148 pounds of food during the Feds Feed Families drive.

The department of Army’s coordinator also recognized the effort and thanked the RS-W team.

“Because of your personal efforts and the amazing generosity of our federal employees, the Army achieved new levels on the amount of much needed foodstuff in support of this annual campaign,” Richard Fafara stated.

The food collected will help restock depleted food banks and pantries and significantly benefit needy families throughout Army installations and local communities.

Former AHS deputy takes reins at Arlington

Mr. Gerald B. O'Keefe and Ms. Kate Kelley

The former chief of staff for OAA’s U.S. Army Headquarters Services was inducted into the Senior Executive Service, or SES, as she took the reins as Arlington National Cemetery’s superintendent March 2, 2017.

The Administrative Assistant to the Secretary of the Army Gerald O’Keefe officiated the ceremony.

“It’s a great day for Kate. It’s a great day for Arlington National Cemetery. And it’s a great day for the Army,” said O’Keefe. “You get promoted not based on past performance, but on future potential. Kate has shown that in so many different jobs.”

O’Keefe said he predicted early on Kelley’s eventual promotion to SES, stating she is professional, well-informed, calm, and ready for everything. She anticipates questions, anticipates problems, and her instincts in problem-solving make her a total package.

While thanking those in attendance Kelley said, “The reality is, no senior leader does anything without their team and without the group and the people who are out there doing it every day. And that’s what I see here today. It’s people who help make it happen.”

“There are three lessons I have learned throughout my career: One, be the kind of person who gets things done. Be a doer. Results matter. Two, look for the hard jobs. Don’t be afraid to take the tough ones,” said Kelley. “And finally, three, look around for mentors and people you want to be surrounded by.”

Kelley, a native of Sheffield, Massachusetts, is responsible for the complete operations of Arlington National Cemetery, encompassing 624 acres, nearly 3.5 million annual visitors, 180 primary staff, more than 7,000 annual burials, $25 million in construction, and a $71 million operating budget.

“I am absolutely humbled to be in this job, I am grateful to have this job, and I am absolutely honored,” said Kelley.

AMVID Soldier artist, immigrant highlighted

As a child, OAA Soldier Spc. Zee Leung dreamed of a being an artist. He came to the U.S. from China in 2006, earned a fine arts degree, and now uses his talents for the U.S. Army as a Multimedia Illustrator.

See Spc. Leung tell his story here.

Army secretary recognizes OAA teams for outstanding accomplishments

The outgoing U.S. Army Secretary Eric Fanning personally recognized three OAA teams during a small Pentagon ceremony Friday, Jan. 6, 2017, that have directly contributed to his and the overall Army mission.

Referring to the administrative assistant offices across DoD as the “unsung heroes” of the departments, he picked the Army OAA’s Civilian Aides to the Secretary of the Army program, the professionals from the U.S. Army Center for Military History, and the Political Transition Team as those who he greatly relied on during his Army secretarial tenue.

As the curators of the Army’s vast art and artifacts, the Pentagon CMH historians helped create an environment for the secretary that felt “more connected to the Army,” Fanning said.

Under his guidance, the CASA team took on the challenge to greatly improve the diversity and reach of the program to better reflect the Army. “I see a new batch (of CASA appointments) that will help tell the story to the Army and the citizenry,” he said.

As a leader who is experiencing his third political transition, he highlighted how extremely important and challenging it is to deliver a smooth transfer of power. He lauded the OAA political transition team, which has been working tirelessly to support the mission.

“Having to take something as big and complex as the Army … and have to translate that ... is no easy feat,” he said. “It’s amazing how seamless it’s been. And nowhere in the country is a seamless transition needed than in DoD,” he added.

After the secretary’s recognition, the Administrative Assistant to the Secretary of the Army, Gerald O’Keefe, echoed the sentiments.

“We have excellent individual and team performances recognized today,” said O’Keefe. “We also have tremendous efforts across the 70 to 80 other teams throughout OAA that contribute to the Army mission every day.”

The full list of individuals who received awards:

Center of Military History:

  • Dr. Michael Rouland (Senior Historian) – Superior Civilian Service Award
  • Mr. Mason Farr (Senior Historian) – Superior Civilian Service Award
  • Dr. James Kelly (Supervisory Curator) – Superior Civilian Service Award
  • Ms. Roxann Showers (Curator) – Achievement Medal for Civilian Service – not present
  • Mr. John A. Paschal (Curator) – Achievement Medal for Civilian Service – not present

Civilian Aides to the Secretary of the Army:

  • Ms. Angie Ritz – Superior Civilian Service Award
  • Ms. Deborah Gantt – Superior Civilian Service Award
  • Ms. Cheryl Arnold – Commander’s Award for Civilian Service
  • SFC Irving Cortes-Ortiz – Army Achievement Medal
  • Mr. Roger Combs – Secretary of the Army Coin
  • Mr. Kyle Kalman – Secretary of the Army Coin

Political Transition Team:

  • Ms. Deb Cusimano – Superior Civilian Service Award
  • Mr. Steve Wallace – Superior Civilian Service Award
  • MSG David Lewis – Army Commendation Medal
  • Mr. Joseph Newman – Achievement Medal for Civilian Service