REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. -- During a farewell ceremony Jan. 19 at the Army Materiel Command, Heidi Shyu looked back on her career at Army headquarters, her partnership with AMC, and her friendship with AMC Commander Gen. Dennis L. Via.

"We made a promise to each other that when we leave the Army, we will have made it better than when we entered it," Shyu, assistant secretary of the Army for acquisition, logistics and technology, said. "That was what was important to us, and through building and strengthening our relationship, that is exactly what we did."

Shyu recounted how she met Via five years ago while both were working in the Pentagon.

"We've had a great relationship for five years and have gone through a lot together," she said. "I have been educated on logistics and learned all about retrograde, but most importantly I learned to deeply appreciate the amazing logisticians that we have in the Army."

Via presented Shyu with the Gen. Brehon B. Somervell Medal of Excellence, which recognizes individuals who excel in the area of multifunctional logistical support and demonstrate a commitment to duty.

"I've never known anyone who puts the amount of work that she puts into every effort, but I can tell you, it is hours and hours and hours," Via said. "Her contributions to the United States Army and the Department of Defense prove that she has lived up to the highest standards of excellence set by Gen. Somervell."

In addition to the medal, Via presented Shyu with a framed picture of her driving the "acquisition bus," an analogy she has used to describe the difficulties within the defense acquisition process.

"You have often described your role in the acquisition process as being the driver of a very long bus, one of which every passenger has a steering wheel and a brake, but interestingly no one has a gas pedal," Via said.

Shyu will retire at the Pentagon Jan. 30.