From Staff Reports
The annual Veterans Appreciation Day ceremony, hosted by the American Legion Lafayette Post No. 149 of Fayetteville, will take place this year on Veterans Day.
“We’ve been having this several years now, and this is the first time it has fallen on Veterans Day,” said Jim Akers, an Air Force veteran who is a member of the Lafayette Post and one of the event’s organizers. The annual event is set for Sunday, Nov. 11 at 3 p.m. at the Fayette County Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Building.
“We will be honoring our many veterans who have served so gallantly in the past, and the military men and women who are serving at this time and are in harm’s way in every corner of the world,” Akers said earlier this week.
Judge John W. Hatcher Jr., a Vietnam veteran, will emcee the ceremony, which will also include the Fayette Institute of Technology JROTC and performances by the Fayetteville Community Choir.
Keynote speakers for the event are two Fayette County natives who are active Armed Forces members, Lt. Col. Shane M. Sullivan and Lt. Col. James “Marty” Akers.
Lt. Col. Shane M. Sullivan grew up in Fayetteville. He is the son of Jim and Carol Sullivan, who still reside in Fayetteville. He graduated from Fayetteville High School in 1990 and from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1994. He received his commission as a 2Lt. in the Corps of Engineers with his first duty assignment at Fort Bragg, N.C.
Sullivan first served as a Sapper Platoon Leader in the 37th Engineer Battalion (Combat) (Airborne Corps), with subsequent positions as a Combat Engineer Light Equipment Platoon Leader and Company Executive Officer. Upon completion of the Captains Career Course, he was stationed at Fort Hood, Texas, in the 1st Cavalry Division, where he served on the brigade staff as both an Assistant Operations Officer in Bosnia and as a Brigade Adjutant at Fort Hood.
He moved to the 8th Engineer Battalion, 1st Cavalry Division, where he served as a Battalion Maintenance Officer and as Commander, A Company. Upon completion of company command, LTC Sullivan was selected for assignment back at West Point, where he served as an instructor and executive officer.
Sullivan transitioned to the Army Acquisition Corps and held positions as an Assistant Product Manager (APM), Acting Product Manager and Deputy Program Manager (DPM) in Future Combat Systems (FCS) and the Research, Development and Engineering Command (RDECOM) before being selected as an Assignment Officer for the Army Human Resources Command (AHRC).
Over the past year, Sullivan worked at Fort Belvoir, Va., and in Afghanistan as the Product Director for Coalition, Command and Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (CSISR), delivering five urgently needed capabilities to the Warfighter. Sullivan then served as the Program Executive Office Intelligence, Electronic Warfare and sensors Operations Lead (Forward) in Afghanistan and returned in June. He has been the Product Manager Ground Sensors at Fort Belvoir for the last four months, responsible for delivering numerous state-of-the-art sensors to the Warfighter.
LTC Sullivan earned a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from West Point and a Master’s in Engineering Management from the University of Missouri-Rolla. He is a graduate of the Command and General Staff College and is certified in Program Management and Systems Planning, Research, Development and Engineering.
His awards and decorations include Meritorious Service Medal with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters (OLC), Army Commendation Medal with 1 OLC, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Ranger Tab, Senior Parachutist Badge, NATO Medal and several others.
Sullivan and his wife, Rhonda, live in Lorton, Va., with their two children, Ryan, 9, and Kate, 8.
Lt. Col. James Martin “Marty” Akers was born at Andrews Air Force Base, Md. He was commissioned into the U.S. Army Ordnance Corps in May 1993, after graduation from Fayetteville High School and earning a Bachelor’s degree from West Virginia Institute of Technology.
Since commissioning, Akers has served in various positions, including Platoon Leader — 261st Ordnance Company, Detachment Commander — 811th Ordnance Company, Battalion Operations Officer — Albany New York Recruiting BN, Battalion Maintenance Officer — 387th Maintenance BN, Company Commander — 189th Ordnance Company, Group Operations Officer — 38th Regional Support Group, Commandant — Regional Training Site-Maintenance at Fort Hood, Texas, and his current assignment as the Logistics Branch Lieutenant Colonel Career Manager, Human Resources Command at Fort Knox, Ky.
In 1996, Akers served as an Ordnance (Ammunition) Detachment Commander at Slavonski-Broad Croatia as part of Operation Join Endeavor in support of the 1st Armored Division. In 2004, LTC Akers served as an Ordnance (Ammunition) Company Commander in Operation Iraqi Freedom III at LSA Anaconda in Balad, providing all required theater ammunition support to three Divisions. In 2006 and 2007, Akers served as a project officer for Operation Platinum Wrench, training all types of Army mechanics at three CONUS locations. In 2008, he served as the project officer for the Ordnance Training and Advisory Board (O-TAB) for the USARC and 377th Theater Sustainment Command.
From 2009 through 2011, Akers commanded a maintenance school which trained over 1,000 active Army Reserve and National Guard soldiers in several types of Ordnance Branch career fields, including track and wheeled vehicle mechanics, NCO Leadership (BNCOC), Track and Wheel Recovery Courses and Small Arms Repair Technicians and the Unit Armorer’s Course.
His military education includes the Ordnance Missile and Munitions Officer Basic Course, Combined Logistics Captain’s Career Course, Combined Armed Services Staff School and the Command and General Staff College. He holds a Master’s degree in Management-Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of Maryland.
His awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Award with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters, Army Commendation Medal with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters, Army Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal with star, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Iraqi Campaign Medal with star, War on Terrorism Service Medal, Armed Forces Service Ribbon, Armed Forces Reserve Medal with numeral 2, silver hourglass and M device, Army Service Ribbon, Army Overseas Service Ribbon with numeral 2, Army Reserve Components Overseas Training Ribbon with numeral 3, NATO Medal, Army Superior Unit Award and the Air Assault Badge.
Akers is married to the former Traci Lynn Bowen of Gauley Bridge, and they have an 11-month-old son, Ethan.
He is the son of Jim and Akers of Fayetteville.
“We hope you will make arrangements to come out to help us honor these men and women who have defended/are defending our freedom so honorably and bravely,” Akers said.