Mr. Leslie Black was born on March 3, 1934 in Lancaster, Kentucky. He graduated from Kentucky College in May 1960, while a member of the Army Reserve. He began his Federal Service career at the Ordnance Intern Training Center, Toledo, Ohio, in August 1960 and completed the General Supply Program in August 1961. Mr. Black served 19 years of his 38-year federal career as the Director, Directorate of Industrial Operations, Rock Island Arsenal (RIA), Rock Island, Illinois, and its predecessor organizations.
He was a leader in the Army's efforts to modernize its tool resources. He advocated quality tool kits and tools for soldiers and continuously sought ways to improve the quality of products in the Army Tool Kit Program. He led the design and development of three prototype tool kits, which were successfully field-tested in 1997. Mr. Black's modification of five-ton trucks with Organization Shop Sets and Tool Kit programs in 1994 with its laser-etched tools, foam inserts, and computerized inventory list resulted in substantial cost savings for aviation maintenance units worldwide. His Tool Kits and Tool Chest Program in 1996 was adopted as a means to overhaul the Army's hand tool inventory.
Mr. Black developed and introduced inexpensive, lightweight toolboxes as replacements for the expensive heavy metal boxes for aviation tools. His new toolboxes were appreciated by troops in the field because they were lighter, corrosion free, and easier to transport.
During the Persian Gulf War, Mr. Black and his directorate performed magnificently. His staff responded to an urgent call for help from the commander of two Iowa National Guard (NG) units to paint their equipment for deployment in three days. Working in ten to sixteen hour shifts, they worked around the clock and completed the mission in three days. All 103 vehicles were washed, masked, painted and stenciled, just in time for their deployment. His organization earned the personal thanks of the President of the United States and Secretary of Defense Dick Chaney for their "unselfish and generous contribution to the men and women of the United States Armed Forces serving in the Persian Gulf." Under Mr. Black's leadership, the Directorate of Industrial Operations completed the prototype Production of the Heavy Mobility Contact Maintenance Trucks (CMTH) in FY 1996. Their success led to the funding of 125 additional units through FY 1997.
Known as Mr. Logistician, Mr. Black earned a stellar reputation as one of our best future-thinking leaders making it possible for the Ordnance Corps to stride into the 21st Century with confidence and ready to serve the line with honor.