A small, socially-distanced group gathered at Army Security Assistance Command, New Cumberland, Pennsylvania, for a memorial ceremony Dec. 10 for Michael Walp.
Walp, a 32-year veteran of the USASAC team, was set to retire in January 2021 but died unexpectedly Nov. 29.
The ceremony, officiated by USASAC command chaplain Col. Kevin Guthrie, was broadcast live on Facebook. Several of Walp’s closest colleagues wore face masks displaying the logo of rock and roll band Kiss, his favorite band. They also recalled him as a father figure, a big brother and a mentor who always had their best interest at heart.
Walp began working for USASAC in 1988, serving as a supply technician and then supply specialist. Since 1994 he had worked in the Case Development Branch, Services and Products Division, G4 Director of Logistics, first as a logistics management specialist and later as team leader.
Several speakers honored his memory and highlighted the numerous contributions of a career civil servant who was known as quiet and unassuming, yet legendary in his accomplishments.
Walp was “the subject matter expert” on foreign military sales case writing, according to James Sharkey, chief of case development for USASAC G4. He helped standardize foreign military sales procedures used across the DOD and contributed to the “testing and implementation of the defense security assistance management system which is the backbone of FMS case development today,” Sharkey said.
Although Walp spent his 32-year federal career exclusively at New Cumberland, the impact of his service reached around the globe.
“Mike’s reputation for superb customer service is known throughout the enterprise and beyond,” Sharkey said. Walp received memorandums of appreciation from the United Kingdom and Saudi Arabia. “Mike was even recognized by the U.S. ambassador to Chile for his outstanding work procuring items needed for displaced citizens after a major earthquake in Chile,” Sharkey recalled.
Michael Casciaro, G4 assistant chief of staff and senior USASAC representative in New Cumberland, said, “I don’t think we could have achieved anything we did without him behind the scenes. He was the man behind the curtain, pulling the strings and levers to make sure we could get our cases written.”
He was remembered as being democratic in his style of leadership, always polite, and a great listener, according to Ann Scott, chief of Services and Products division. “Mike always did more than his fair share of work, and he loved that,” she said. “It was a badge of honor for him.”
Walp was set to receive two awards at his retirement, which were presented by Terra Good, the Security Assistance Liaison Office program manager, and narrator for the citations. Received on Walp’s family’s behalf by Casciaro, the Superior Civilian Service Medal citation recognized Walp’s “exceptional service … unparalleled professionalism and extraordinary commitment.”
Good also read a letter from Pennsylvania Sen. Patrick Toomey, and presented a Certificate of Special Recognition that Toomey’s office had prepared for his retirement. “Congratulations on over 33 years of faithful and dedicated service to the United States of America. It is my pleasure to recognize your outstanding record of conduct, performance and devotion to duty which truly reflects your allegiance to our great nation,” Toomey wrote.
The awards will be delivered to Walp’s mother, Letty Cashman, of Lake Wales, Florida.