By Jon Micheal Connor, ASC Public AffairsOctober 23, 2014
ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL, Ill. -- While she flew up from Fort Bragg, North Carolina, to accept an award for being the best in her field, she couldn't help remembering that the award was named after a comrade killed in Iraq.
"I did not know her. She gave the ultimate sacrifice," said Kelly Mulder, an Army logistics management specialist, during an awards ceremony Oct. 22 for the U.S. Army Sustainment Command's LAR of the Year for 2013. LAR stands for Logistics Assistance Representative. The award is named after Linda Villar.
"I am very humbled," Mulder told ceremony attendees. She is with the 406th Army Field Support Brigade, one of seven under ASC.
Villar, 41, was killed in Baghdad, Iraq, June 3, 2005, from injuries sustained during a mortar attack at her forward operating base. She was the acting chief of the 3rd Infantry Division Logistics Support Element.
Prior to her deployment, Villar worked for the Army Field Support Command, Fort Stewart, Ga. She had 24 years of civilian service, most with the Army Materiel Command. She was the first AMC civilian killed in Iraq.
Like Villar, Mulder has served her country above and beyond the call of duty. She served in Operation Iraqi Freedom from November 2009 to July 2010, and in Afghanistan January 2013 to January 2014 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
Mulder brings 17 years of maintenance and logistical experience between active duty service, government contracting, and civil service. It was her work in Afghanistan, however, that led to the nomination for LAR of the Year.
"She had a significant, positive impact on everything she touched," said Maj. Gen. Kevin O'Connell, commanding general of ASC and Rock Island Arsenal. "We're real proud of you," O'Connell said in an outdoor ceremony held in front of the command's headquarters building.
While in Afghanistan, Mulder, served as the Logistics Support Element chief for the regional commands in the north and east. "This job was my first leadership role at this capacity," she said.
Mulder supervised up to 80 people as the LSE chief and said it was a team effort on everyone's part that led to the success of the seven Brigade Logistics Support Teams providing technical and logistics support to the regions.
"It starts at the BLST level," Mulder said, in building relationships with customer units on displaying trust, determination and dedication to them.
"It's more about the team than I," Mulder said referring to her personnel. You have to support them, not dictate, she said. "I tried bringing in a little bit of home in everything."
Additionally, her nomination narrative stated: "Ms. Mulder led the LSE efforts to reutilize $8.5 million in excess equipment, made a disposition correction for a cost savings of $3 million and brought $23 million in amnesty CLV (Class V -- munitions like grenades and bullets) to record."
Accompanying Mulder was her teenage son, Nathaniel, who stood by her side during the ceremony enthusiastically leading applause with a big smile.
Aside from this award, Mulder has garnered two Superior Civilian Service Awards and a Commander's Award for Civilian Service among others.