Despite having to struggle with soaring gas prices and the stress and uncertainty of wartime deployments and separations, for military members and their families, the commissary is still “worth the trip.” That’s what the Defense Commissary Agency’s incoming director, Philip E. Sakowitz Jr., told an audience of DeCA employees and industry partners during an introductory address at the agency’s 2008 Conference and Training Event May 20 in Richmond, Va.
In unveiling this personal motto, “The commissary: It’s worth the trip,” Sakowitz called it a “mandate” for his tenure at DeCA, saying, “These service members and their families are sacrificing every day. Their demands are never unreasonable and surely attainable. . . That’s exactly what I intend to do!”
Sakowitz explained the meaning behind the motto by breaking it into three areas of “food for thought”:
“‘The commissary’ remains an essential part of this motto just as it is a treasured premier benefit and a formidable tradition in our armed services,” he said.
“ ‘… It’s worth’ recognizes that DeCA team members understand our customers deserve top value for their hard-earned pay.
“‘… the trip,’” he explained, “reminds us that about 70 percent of our authorized shoppers don’t live on an installation. With soaring gas prices and all the stresses related to families separated by war, we must make the trip so worthwhile and enjoyable that customers won’t pass it up.”
Sakowitz said taking care of service members and their families remains DeCA’s most fundamental mission. “For all they sacrifice for us every day, there’s no limit to the quality of service we can provide together for them.”
A member of the federal government’s Senior Executive Service, Sakowitz has served at all levels of the U.S. Army, and is currently executive director of the Army’s Installation Management Command, headquartered in Arlington, Va. He has been honored twice, by Presidents Clinton and Bush, as a Meritorious Presidential Rank recipient, recognizing him as a leader in the top 5 percent of the Senior Executive Service.
About DeCA: The Defense Commissary Agency operates a worldwide chain of commissaries providing groceries to military personnel, retirees and their families in a safe and secure shopping environment. Authorized patrons purchase items at cost plus a 5-percent surcharge, which covers the costs of building new commissaries and modernizing existing ones. Shoppers save an average of more than 30 percent on their purchases compared to commercial prices – savings worth about $3,000 annually for a family of four. A core military family support element, and a valued part of military pay and benefits, commissaries contribute to family readiness, enhance the quality of life for America’s military and their families, and help recruit and retain the best and brightest men and women to serve their country.
Ronald Kelly, Media Relations