Length of service ceremony highlights willingness to learn

Master Sgt. Derrick Crawford
21st Theater Support Command

After 25 years of civil service, 21st Theater Support Command employee Tom C. Douglass feels he still has plenty to learn.

“You’re always trying to understand how to do things better,” said Mr. Douglass, an auditor and evaluator with the Comptroller’s Internal Review office in Mannheim. “I’ve enjoyed being an auditor with the U.S. government because it has given me an opportunity to work with numerous organizations in a variety of functions. I have grown both personally and professionally.”

Maj. Gen. Bennie E. Williams, 21st TSC commanding general, said a willingness to learn new approaches and adapt to change is typical of the attitude he sees when visiting the various organizations within the command, which employs a workforce of about 3,500 civilians in the Kaiserslautern area – second in size only to automaker Opel. He recently recognized Mr. Douglass, along with a group of other Department of Defense and local national employees, for their contributions to the command and the U.S. government during a recent Length of Service award ceremony at the Kaiserslautern Community Activities Center.

“I tell folks, day in and day out, I simply could not do my job, and we definitely could not have mission accomplishment, without our superior workforce. You are different from the rest,” said General Williams in his address to the 29 employees, ranging from five to 35 years of service.

“I have the utmost trust and confidence in you. Your integrity and your commitment to the mission is beyond repair. I just want to say, to both my U.S. and local national workforce – thank you.”

Monika Hahn, 21st TSC Civilian Personnel Advisor’s office on Panzer Kaserne, a local national employee herself, said it may seem like a routine acknowledgement but local German national employees covet such an honor. “Being rooted in the same company means a lot to us. Being recognized for the time you’ve worked with an employer is special,” she said.

That sentiment was echoed by Harald Schurz, who works in the Property Book Office. When asked about his 25 years of service, he said the personal relationships that grow from “working with the people throughout the command” are the most memorable.

For Susan Byrnes, G-6 staff, who has worked all of her 10 years of service in the command, civil service is about having the opportunity to gain varied experiences.

“I never guessed 10 years ago that I’d be here this long, being the spouse of a military member,” said Mrs. Byrnes.

With the “ever-changing flow” of military personnel, General Williams said the civilians provide the necessary continuity and commitment for the command to succeed.

“I see a loyalty being demonstrated day in and day out,” he said. “There is no mission that you can’t perform. I understand the relevancy of this workforce.”