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News | Aug. 2, 2018

Two DCMA heroes find forever in sacrifice

By Thomas Perry DCMA Public Affairs

Fort Lee’s skyline just became a little more heroic. Defense Contract Management Agency completed a remembrance effort by officially adding “Herbert Homer Hall” lettering to its headquarters.

The building is named in honor of DCMA employee Herb Homer, who was aboard United Airlines Flight 175 when the aircraft crashed into the World Trade Center Sept. 11, 2001. The headquarters first gained its moniker when DCMA moved south from Washington and joined the Fort Lee community in 2011.

Navy Vice Adm. David Lewis, the agency director, encourages team members to know and appreciate agency history in his official blog.

“It’s imperative that we not forget the sacrifices Herbert Homer made for our country and our agency,” he wrote.

In addition to the large-scale lettering, Lewis commissioned commemorative plaques honoring Homer be placed at all of the headquarters main entrances. These plaques match the original memorial, which was unveiled during the 2011 building dedication.

Current Director of Defense Pricing Shay Assad spoke during that dedication.

“There was never a doubt, in our minds, of whom he represented,” said Assad, a former Raytheon executive who worked closely with Homer. “Herb was incredibly smart. Herb had great strength. When he thought the best interests of the United States government weren’t being taken into account, he let us know about it in no uncertain terms.”

Assad said Homer’s greatest attribute was his humility to all he met. He said this made him the kind of person whom everyone loved. “He was everything DCMA should be all about.”

This new signage marks the agency’s latest step to ensure the sacrifices of two of its greatest heroes are never forgotten.

DCMA also recognizes Tony Acerra, a DCMA quality assurance representative who was killed Oct. 29, 2011 when his convoy was attacked in Kabul, Afghanistan. Each month DCMA Hartford, Connecticut, awards the Anthony Acerra Defender of Freedom award to an individual or team who demonstrates exceptional achievement in warfighter support.

Lewis has written at length about Acerra in his official blog.

“Tony was on his fifth deployment for the agency when this tragedy occurred,” wrote Lewis. “A Navy veteran, (Tony) had served his country for more than 30 years, the last 16 with the agency. Tony is a hero in every sense of the word and the agency couldn’t be more honored to continue his legacy of excellence and commitment to the warfighter in everything we do.”

According to the official award criteria, recipients of the Anthony Acerra Defender of Freedom Award represent much of the same qualities.

Michael Taylor, DCMA Hartford deputy commander, said Acerra worked in Vermont and Western New York, and was known throughout Hartford and its streamlined command DCMA Syracuse. So when Hartford Director Peter Leahy was looking to name a new award highlighting extraordinary effort and work ethic, team members overwhelming were in favor of naming it after their departed friend and co-worker.

This sentiment is echoed by award recipients.

“To receive this award in memory of such a remarkable DCMA employee who sacrificed many things to support the mission including his life; To do something that is considered as important as what Anthony Acerra accomplished in his career at DCMA is an honor and I am truly grateful for this award,” said Julie White, who received the award in August 2015.