News: Naval logistician assumes first command in Kuwait
Story by Sgt. Tracy Ellingsen
By Sgt. Tracy Ellingsen
311th Sustainment Command
CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait - When she first joined the Navy in 1986, she was looking for a way to provide service to her community. For her first year of service, the Willsboro, N.Y. native didn't even realize she was supposed to get paid. And because of a paperwork glitch she didn't. Now Capt. Kenda C. James is commanding the Navy's premier logistics unit in the Middle East.
This month command of the Navy Expeditionary Logistics Support Group transferred between the outgoing commander, Capt. Ron J. MacLaren, to James in a ceremony held at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait.
"Effective immediately, you are authorized to assume direct command," said the orders appointing James to command. "You must properly exercise the duties and responsibilities of command to the best of your ability."
The hundreds of Sailors she commands are responsible for the logistical support for service members and their equipment throughout the area supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom. Daily, the NAVELSG has the capability to process 500 large shipping containers or 1000 vehicles in the ports of the Middle East.
The customs battalion her group oversees conducts the inspection operations for all military personnel and their equipment returning to the United States ensuring complete United States Department of Agriculture and United States customs requirements.
James has spent more than half of her Naval Reserve career working in expeditionary logistics, including positions in cargo handling battalions, as a training officer, an operations officer, executive officer, and now commander.
She was previously deployed to Cyprus in 2003 to support Operation Enduring Freedom to set up and operate a Forward Logistics Support Site.
After, September 11, James was mobilized by the state of New York as the officer in charge of the Naval Militia Task Force, which coordinated support for security and recovery operations at the World Trade Center site.
James currently lives in Willsboro, N.Y. on the shore of Lake Champlain with her husband, Bill, and her daughter.