Civilian leader ends 36 year-long career, leaves profound legacy
December 15, 2011
FORT STEWART, GA. - Dedicated and loyal are words used to portray Royce Kennedy, Director of Logistics, by his employees. Kennedy ends his 36-year career with the directorate and turns over the reins to James Niksch effective Dec. 31.
"I've been fortunate throughout my career in having good people surround me to make up for my many shortfalls," Kennedy said. "I've always been fortunate to have good leaders under me. I leave DOL in good shape with division chiefs who are all capable and know what they are here for."
Kennedy, a native of Glennville, Ga., began his DoD Civilian career in 1975 as a supply clerk and worked hard throughout the ranks to achieve his position as division chief. Upon graduating from the Federal Career Intern program, Kennedy relocated to Forces Command in Atlanta, Ga., and worked in various supply positions.
In 1989, Kennedy returned to Fort Stewart and worked as a systems analyst in the Plans and Operation Division at DOL. Understanding his true role as a Civilian, serving the Soldier has been at the forefront of each position and promotion for Kennedy.
"The Third Infantry Division has the record of being the best in the Army and they have proven that," Kennedy said. "Soldiers are very dedicated and it takes a special type of person to leave their Family and kids to go support our country, and we are fortunate to have such great Americans."
His daily missions involves assuring Soldiers and units have their necessary equipment to complete their mission, which includes issuing clothing, ammunition, transportation and maintenance of equipment, and that each receives quality meals at installation dining facilities.
Kennedy proudly refers to DOL as a "Super Wal-Mart" for Soldiers.
Reflecting on his long-standing career, Kennedy candidly shared his team has had the greatest impact on his many successes. He added that he treats others as he would like to be treated.
"Looking back, I've always cared about my employees," Kennedy said. "I always wanted to take care of them. I want to take care of them, just like I want to be treated. I was just one spoke in the wheel; I had such great people surrounding me and a good workforce full of great Americans."
While DOL has shared much success, compliments regarding his division is nothing new.
"Fort Stewart is the center of excellence and has won that award numerous times," Kennedy explained. "The DOL is just one part of that. We were inspected by First Army and the inspector general. They came to me and said your workforce really gets it. The other compliment was we have a heart and that is how we accomplish what we do. I've had many short fuse deployment timelines but the people always had the heart and a passion to get the mission done."
Change is constant at Stewart, and Kennedy reflected on noticeable milestones that have taken place with DOL and the installtion.
"Infrastructure has changed for the better over the last 20 years," Kennedy said. "When I became the director in 2002 we moved into this facility which was replaced from a World War I facility."
He added that he has seen huge improvements to the barracks, motor pool and housing on the installation which makes Stewart-Hunter an ideal duty station for Soldiers and their Families.
The youngest of 16 children, the essence of logistics has ran through Kennedy's blood at an early age.
"I started learning logistics around my home," Kennedy explained with a smile. He added that his parents, siblings and good mentors helped to cement the values he holds dear to his heart.
By his side throughout his career is his wife Rhonda. They've been married for 32 years.
Together, they have four children (ranging in ages from 19 to 36), with his youngest daughter in college in nearby Statesboro, Ga.
Athletics has been the centerpiece of the Kennedy household, and he beamed as he spoke about attending many of his children's sporting events. He shared that often he would leave work to attend a game and later return back to the office.
His focus over the next few weeks is to ensure a smooth transition for his predecessor and allow DOL employees to continue to thrive and serve the Soldier.
"I'm going to miss the people," Kennedy said sadly. "The DOL is a Family and I've grown close to them. [Retirement] is going to be a change and it's finally hitting me now. I'll miss the fellowship and making those decisions of taking care of the Soldiers."