WASHINGTON, Nov. 03, 2015 —
The 35th annual Department of Defense Disability Awards ceremony was hosted by Acting Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Brad Carson in the Pentagon Auditorium Oct. 29.
This annual event was organized by the Office of Diversity Management and Equal Opportunity as part of the National Disability Employment Awareness Month observance, which takes place each October.
2015 also marks the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act and department’s 20th anniversary of the Workforce Recruitment Program. The event provided an overview of DoD disability initiatives and policies as well as a forum to recognize award recipients.
Nineteen service members and civilian employees with disabilities were recognized for their outstanding achievements and contributions to advancing DoD’s mission. Additionally, four DoD organizations were recognized for adopting and implementing exemplary practices in the recruitment, retention, and advancement of individuals with disabilities.
DoD commemorates this year’s National Disability Employment Awareness Month theme, “My Disability is One Part of Who I am.”
Carson addressed the importance of diversity to the DoD mission and the critical role that service members and civilian employees with disabilities play in the defense of the nation.
“The range and types of achievements and contributions our recipients have made to the Department of Defense demonstrates -- better than words could ever say -- that each of us is truly made of many parts,” he said. “And that the Department of Defense needs each of us -- in all of our aspects -- to fulfill our mission today and tomorrow.”
Claiborne D. Haughton Jr., former acting deputy assistant secretary of defense for equal opportunity, delivered the keynote address. Haughton highlighted the skills and talents people with disabilities bring to the workforce and noted that DoD serves as a leader in the employment of individuals with disabilities. Haughton emphasized that personnel at all levels have a role to play in advancing employment for individuals with disabilities.
“Disability is one aspect of diversity and one part of what makes a person who he or she is. It is the breadth of skills that individuals with disabilities bring to the workplace that truly define how we advance the DoD mission and defend our nation for all Americans,” said Randy Cooper, director of DoD disability programs.
The following DoD employees and service members with disabilities received Secretary of Defense awards for their outstanding achievements and contributions to advancing the DoD mission:
Department of the Army:
Elham Williams, Department of the Army;
Army Staff Sgt. Jorge G. Haddock-Santiago; and
Army Capt. Mary J. Hubbard
Department of the Navy:
Anne K. Ng, Department of the Navy; and Marine Corps Gunnery Sergeant Ralph B. DeQuebec
Department of the Air Force:
Stacy Gatling, Department of the Air Force; and
Air Force Tech. Sgt. Brian A. Williams
Defense Agencies and DoD Field Activities:
Patricia M. Barson, Army and Air Force Exchange Service; Alexander Culbreth, Defense Commissary Agency; Francis H. Gilroy, Defense Contract Audit Agency; Anthony E. Labath, Defense Contract Management Agency; Jeffrey Kasting, Defense Finance and Accounting Service; Kameelah N. Montgomery, Defense Human Resources Activity; David R. Andrews. Defense Intelligence Agency; Pearl Pearson, Jr., Defense Logistics Agency; Mamie Rush, Department of Defense Education Activity; John E. Lawson, Missile Defense Agency; Chad D. Dennis, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency; William R. Sciannella, National Security Agency
The following four DoD components received Secretary of Defense Awards for their outstanding achievements in the employment of individuals with disabilities:
Best Military Department: Department of the Air Force
Best Mid-Sized Component: Defense Finance and Accounting Service
Best Small-Sized Component: Department of Defense Office of Inspector General
Best Intelligence Component: National Security Agency
The ceremony served as a reminder to those in the audience that all people have a right to dignity, respect, and an equal opportunity to succeed in the workplace.