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Civil servant retires, devotes 36 years to armed forces

By Nathan L. Hanks Jr. | | July 3, 2014


After devoting more than three-and-a-half decades to the armed forces as a civil servant, Paula B. Knight said farewell to her Marine Corps Logistics Command family, June 26.

Knight, who served as a secretary in the Operations Directorate, LOGCOM, retired in front of family, friends and colleagues at the Base Chapel after 36 years of service.

During her retirement ceremony, Knight received a certificate of appreciation and letters from President Barack Obama, the commandant of the Marine Corps and the commanding general, LOGCOM. In addition, she received an American flag which was flown aboard Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, South Carolina, where she began her civil service career.

Col. Jeffrey Q. Hooks, commander, Marine Depot Maintenance Command, was chosen by Knight to be the retiring official for her ceremony.

“A lot of us mark our success in our careers from what we leave behind,” Hooks said. “What Paula has done is something different. (She has left) a mark on people and (taught) them how to be better people. The guidance, and really the mentorship you have given, helped me grow as a person as much as a Marine officer.”

He said Knight’s legacy will be her positive outlook and the lives she has touched.

“(You are) genuinely concerned about people and you make the huge difference in building that harmony that makes people enjoy coming to work,” he said. “Thank you for helping us accomplish our mission. Thank you for everything you have done for this country and the various commands you have been with. You are a very special person and we will miss you.”

Hooks stated he was impressed that Knight had worked for four of the five branches of service.

“I have worked at four different commands and I have enjoyed all of them but I began my career with the Marine Corps,” Knight said.

“Without God, I would not be here,” she added. “I have seen a lot of different places, done a lot of things and met a lot of people, but most (importantly) I met God.”

In her short speech, she thanked her sister, friends and former leaders for attending the ceremony. According to Knight, she chose people she had a professional relationship with to participate in the ceremony.

“I thank all of you for being a part of my career here at Marine Corps Logistics Command, Albany, Georgia, and it has been wonderful,” she said. “It’s time to do something else. Thirty-six years is enough.”

Knight said her plans during retirement are to volunteer to help those in need.

“(I plan to) continue to serve our nation by volunteering to assist others after natural disasters throughout the U.S.,” she said. “After Hurricane Katrina, my desire to physically help those in need has always stayed with me. The look of people struggling in New Orleans just made me know when the opportunity came for me to give back I would. If not now, when. Now is my time.”

William “Scott” Johnson, contractor, Senior Logistics Analysts, LOGCOM, and a retired civil servant, said Knight always had the warfighter in mind.

“No matter what job she was in, she was supporting a manager who was supporting the warfighter,” Johnson said. “She may not have been out there (preparing) or pulling a piece of gear to ship, but she was right there making sure that (her) manager had the support he or she needed, working (the) calendar helping him or her arrange their workday.”

Knight and Johnson worked together for four years. Two of those years, Knight was Johnson’s secretary when he became the head of Storage and Maintenance Branch, Marine Corps Logistics Bases.

Johnson, who has been working at the base for nearly 40 years, said, “You don’t find people like her.”

“She has been around the command a long time and worked in a lot of different areas and she knows the ins and outs,” he said.

Knight began her federal service career in February 1976 when she and her husband, retired Gunnery Sgt. John Knight, were stationed at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, South Carolina.

Her first position was a sales checker at the Commissary Store Branch aboard Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, South Carolina.

In September 1979, she transferred to a new position as a cash clerk with the Navy Resale System Field Support Office, Commissary Store Division, Little Creek, Norfolk, Virginia.

Knight then moved to the Air Force Commissary Service in November 1982 and worked as a sales store checker on Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, Japan. She resigned from federal service in March 1984 to pursue other interests.

Reinstated into federal service in January 1986, she worked as a scanning coordinator at the U.S. Army Troop Support Agency, U.S. Army Commissary, Picatinny Arsenal, Dover, New Jersey.

After traveling overseas and being away from the Marine Corps for nearly 13 years, Knight returned to her civil service roots.

Since April 1989, Knight has held several positions at LOGCOM to include a cash clerk, secretary, management and program assistant and an office automation assistant.

In March 2008, she assumed the duties as secretary, Operations Directorate, the former Logistics Operations Center, where she was the principal office assistant performing administrative and clerical duties.