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DoD Honors 11 African-American Servicemembers

By Rudi Williams
American Forces Press Service

AUSTIN, Texas, Feb. 28, 2006 – Eleven servicemen and women were honored for their service in Iraq and Afghanistan and during Hurricane Katrina at a special reception hosted by the Defense Department and Army Test and Evaluation Command here.

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Maj. Gen. Walter E. Gaskin (right), commander, Marine Corps Recruiting Command congratulates Maj. Charles Ellis on his award Feb. 25 during the Defense Department's observance of National African American History Month in Austin, Texas. Looking on is Clarence Johnson, DoD's principal director and director, civilian equal employment opportunity. Photo by Rudi Williams
  

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The Feb. 25 session was part of the two-day DoD National African American History Month observance here.

Clarence A. Johnson, DoD's principal director and director, civilian equal employment opportunity, and high-ranking representatives of the awardees' commands presented each awardee with a special coin from David S.C. Chu, undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness.

The recipients, all honored for meritorious service, were:

  • Air Force Reserve Maj. Donna McNabb, a Bronze Star Medal recipient and chief of logistics and chief of resources for Task Force 134 in Iraq, was credited with monitoring more than $250 million in operational and maintenance facilities (Army) funds in support of task force units and five detentions facilities.
  • Air National Guard Staff Sgt. Lenieshia T. Mayberry was cited for work in Iraq and Afghanistan and for her work during the Hurricane Katrina relief efforts. Serving as a fire team leader in Saudi Arabia, Mayberry supervised airmen protecting billions of dollars worth of Air Force aircraft and personnel without loss of life or assets, the citation stated.
  • Coast Guard Master Chief Arthur D. Petty, a food service specialist, received honors as the senior enlisted member while deployed with Expeditionary Strike Group 5 aboard U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Munro. The award citation stated that Petty's ability to gather crucial information on both operations and potential ports of call was critical to Munro's success. His efforts helped command cadre in creating liberty policies, which maximized both crew safety and recreation.
  • Army National Guard 1st Lt. Nicole L. Robertson was cited for contributions as rail-load officer for her company's equipment deployed to Iraq. "She beat established timelines, while ensuring equipment was available for combat operations," the award citation stated. Robertson also served as convoy commander in multiple moves from Fort Hood, Texas, through Kuwait and into Baghdad, including transporting 582 soldiers to various deployed locations.
  • Army Staff Sgt. Jamal H. Bowers was cited as a tactical psychological operations team chief in Fallujah, Iraq. Bowers was recognized for leading his team during many days under direct fire from enemy forces in Fallujah, the citation stated. "After his platoon was ambushed, he immediately led an attack on the enemy and provided for the evacuation of three wounded Marines," the citation noted. "His tactical skills and courage under fire were essential to destroying the enemy and saving the lives of his wounded comrades.
  • Marine Capt. Vernice Armour, an Air Medal recipient, was honored for service as an attack helicopter pilot with the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force in Iraq. "During the peak of battle, she maneuvered her aircraft and employed multiple Hellfire missiles on enemy positions in the old city section of Najaf, Iraq," the citation stated. Her accuracy was credited with destroying enemy weapons, rendering the munitions unusable for the enemy and stopped the enemy's attack on the Army's 1st Cavalry troops, the citation noted.
  • Air Force Capt. Kendrea Vallien received distinction as a contract administrator and administrative officer in Iraq. Vallien is credited with establishing nationwide reconstruction efforts during a period of heightened political tensions from national elections and referendums that resulted in numerous car bombings, random mortar attacks and indiscriminate small-arms fire.
  • Marine Maj. Charles Ellis, a Bronze Star Medal recipient, was cited for service while commander of the Regional Detention Facility, Ramadi, Iraq. He is credited with supervising and executing the daily induction, detention and transfer of more than 3,200 insurgents and detainees directly from the battlefield. He ensured that all detainees were treated with dignity and respect, according to the citation.
  • Navy Lt. Cmdr. Marichal L. Hill received honors for meritorious service as chief finance and projects and finance officer, civil military Operations, Combined Joint Task Force 76, in Afghanistan. Among other noteworthy accomplishments, Hill was cited for his handling of more than 1,600 overseas humanitarian disaster assistance and civic aid projects valued at $100 million, the award citation noted.
  • Navy Lt. Samuel E. Robinson was cited for distinguishing himself by meritorious service as assistant operations officer, Defense Contract Management Agency, Iraq. Robinson received high praise for his management of the Army's $5.8 billion Logistics Civil Augmentation Program.
  • Army Reserve Maj. Sharon Blue was honored for meritorious service as a logistical planner for the Logistical Civil Augmentation Program in Iraq and Afghanistan. "She volunteered for duties outside of the normal scope of her responsibilities to ensure add-on-armor was delivered and installed on vehicles in proximity of known 'attack zones,'" the award citation stated.
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Biographies:
Clarence A. Johnson

Click photo for screen-resolution imageNavy honorees Lt. Cmdr. Marichal L. Hill (left) and Lt. Samuel Robinson pose after receiving an award during a Feb. 25 reception at the Defense Department's observance of National African American History Month in Austin, Texas. They are flanked by Clarence Johnson (left), DoD's principal director and director for civilian equal employment opportunity, and Ronald Smiley, director for electronic warfare and combat systems and avionics at the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division. Photo by Rudi Williams  
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