CAMP ATTERBURY, Ind. –
Four Defense Department civilians and an Army specialist, all killed while serving in Afghanistan or Iraq, were honored earlier this month at a storied Army training post here. Among them was Tony Acerra, a Defense Contract Management Agency quality assurance specialist, who died when his convoy was attacked near Kabul, Afghanistan, Oct. 29, 2011.
“Tony represented everything right about civil service,” said Army Lt. Gen. David Bassett, DCMA director. “Uncompromising. Exceptional performance. Vigilance. These are words I hear often about him, and they make me proud to be a part of DCMA.”
Bassett spoke to invited guests at the June 3 ceremony renaming a building on Camp Atterbury for Acerra. Acerra’s wife, Linda, joined Bassett in unveiling a dedication plaque, as Acerra’s daughter, Sherry, son, Nick, and grandchildren looked on. Nick is a DCMA quality assurance specialist in Pennsylvania. Also in attendance were several of Acerra’s coworkers and friends from his time with DCMA.
Located just south of Indianapolis, the 34,000-acre Camp Atterbury has served as a training center for military and civilians since World War II. It is now operated by the Indiana National Guard, and continues to provide regular and pre-deployment training. As part of the event, buildings across the post were renamed in honor of the civilians. The central issue facility, or CIF, was renamed for Acerra.
“This is where gear is issued for training or deployment,” said Bassett. “To me that’s poetic, because I know DCMA people, maybe Tony himself, had a hand in getting this equipment into service.”
Acerra had been with DCMA for 16 years, and was on his fifth deployment for the agency, when he was killed. “By then his family had already given up a lot of time with him,” noted Bassett. “This sacrifice of time is something most military families accept, but that civilian families are very rarely asked to make.”
Bassett said Acerra, a Navy veteran, was exceptional because of his dedication to family, his job, and to the service members he held dear.
“There’s no doubt that you, his family, are exceptional as well,” said Bassett. “You are the only people who truly know the cost of his death. Tony is remembered as a hero, but to me you deserve that title as well.”
Three other buildings were also renamed for civilians, including Maged Hussein, who was killed in Iraq on May 25, 2009, while serving with the Army Corps of Engineers; Krissie Davis, who was serving with the Defense Logistics Agency in Afghanistan when she was killed on June 8, 2015; and Michael Sauro, who was killed Oct. 19, 2016, while deployed to Afghanistan with the Defense Ammunition Center. A conference room was dedicated to Army Spec. Ross McGinnis, who died when he covered an enemy grenade in his vehicle, saving his team in Iraq on Dec. 4, 2006. McGinnis received the Medal of Honor for his action.
A ceremony was held earlier in the day honoring the five individuals, attended by senior active Army and Indiana Army National Guard leaders; military and civilian leaders from several Defense Department agencies; and family, coworkers and friends of those lost.
For more information on Tony Acerra, visit: https://www.dcma.mil/News/Article-View/Article/1349618/a-typical-guy-from-queens-who-loved-his-country/