NAACP Honors Six Military Members, Two Civilians
By Rudi Williams
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, June 12, 2004 Six military personnel and two Defense Department civilian employees were honored here June 10 with the NAACP's Roy Wilkins Renown Service Award in recognition of their contributions to military equal opportunity policies and programs.
Air Force Master Sgt. Delbert Williams, center right, was
presented the NAACP's Roy Wilkins Renown Service Award by John J. Johnson,
chief of the NAACP's Programs Department, during pre-dinner ceremonies in
Arlington, Va., June 10. At the left is Maj. Gen. Paul Sullivan, assistant
director of the Air National Guard. At the right is Lt. Gen. Daniel James III,
director of the Air National Guard. James is the son of late Air Force Gen.
Daniel "Chappie" James. Photo by Rudi William
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
John J. Johnson, programs department chief for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, presented Roy Wilkins plaques to honorees during a ceremony prior to the NAACP's 29th Annual Armed Services and Veterans Affairs Awards Dinner at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City Hotel in Arlington, Va. The recipients are from the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Army National Guard, Air National Guard, Coast Guard and 4th Estate Defense Agencies.
Johnson said the recipients were selected for the honor during a yearlong search by the military service departments to identify people who have done exceptional work in the area of equal opportunity, affirmative action and other outreach civil rights work.
Roslyn Brock, vice chairwoman of the NAACP's national board of directors at the organization's Baltimore headquarters, read a roll call of award recipients and their accomplishments as their images were flashed on large screens in the hotel's ballroom.
Receiving Roy Wilkins plaques were: Army Sgt. 1st Class Lamont Christian, an equal opportunity advisor with the 25th Infantry Division at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii; Navy Lt. Cmdr. Kedrick M. Bellamy, a maritime readiness officer at the Defense Supply Center in Philadelphia; Air Force Maj. Kimberly Scott, a C-17A Globemaster III pilot with the 728th Airlift Squadron, 446th Military Airlift Wing, McChord Air Force Base, Wash.; Army National Guard Sgt. Maj. Gary E. Robinson Sr., a retiring senior enlisted adviser to the Joint Staff; Air National Guard Master Sgt. Delbert Williams, first sergeant of the 128th Air Refueling Wing at the Wisconsin Air National Guard headquarters in Milwaukee; Coast Guard Lt. Tyrone Jones, executive officer of Maritime Safety Security Team 91103 in Los Angeles; Craig F. Reed, director of the health and fitness division of Marine Corps Community Services at Camp Lejeune, N.C.; and Eddie Cooper, 4th Estate Defense Agencies.
Called a highly motivated, professional soldier and community activist, Christian was cited for working "tirelessly to eliminate racial prejudice and to remove barriers based on race, color, gender, national origin and religion for military and civilian members alike."
He served as a member of the National Major Gang Task Force and the Hawaii State Law Enforcement Gang Task Force. "Additionally, he volunteers during off- duty hours taking the message of equal opportunity to the local Hawaiian community by partnering with high schools and the Hawaii State National Guard Youth Challenge, an at-risk youth camp," according to the award citation.
Bellamy distinguished himself by meritorious service for exceptional contributions to military and civilian communities in the United States, Guam, Japan and Spain, according to the citation. "He founded and developed six multicultural and African-American heritage committees and study groups, chaired committees conducting an array of cultural celebrations, and delivered 110 lectures and workshops on cultural awareness," the citation continued.
He also re-established a chapter of the National Naval Officers Association on Guam after recognizing the importance of mentoring the life of junior officers. Bellamy advocated for young people through work with the Guam Department of Youth Affairs, Big Brothers and Big Sisters, Girls Incorporated and the YMCA, and coached high school students on preparation for taking college entrance exams.
According to the award citation, Scott "distinguished herself by meritorious service as an outstanding pilot and aviation advocate." This included mentoring more than 200 under-served youth and students to aviation.
"As a C-17A pilot, she served heroically in the first wave of Operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom, flying 130 missions, 25 combat mission, 800 hours, and providing critical airlift of 3 million pounds of cargo and 1,000 personnel in critical combat operations," the citation continued.
Scott also is credited with increasing the number of African-American pilots and working to highlight minority contributions and to increase minority participation in aviation.
Robinson was honored for his involvement in increasing the number of temporary equal opportunity advisers in the 54 state and territory National Guards.
Throughout his career, his citation read, the sergeant major has "devoted time and energy to developing America's youth by mentoring elementary school students, coaching underprivileged young people from the inner cities and instilling important values as a father figure."
"A true advocate of civil rights," the citation continued, "he continuously supported programs championing the cause of people with disabilities. In several instances, he served as the National Guard liaison to external disability groups and organizations." Robinson retires June 30.
Williams was cited for "meritorious service with outstanding contributions to equal opportunity and civil rights." His award citation states that he "provided impeccable advice to senior leaders on the impact of policies regarding matters of diversity, equal employment opportunity, military equal opportunity and the local metro Milwaukee community."
Williams was also honored for his involvement with the Big Brothers and Big Sisters programs, the Beyond Walls organization, Aviation Careers Education Program, Running Rebels Community organization and many other groups, which, the citation stated, "demonstrates his intense commitment to 'at-risk' youth, both locally and in the state of Wisconsin."
Jones "distinguished himself by meritorious service for outstanding leadership and support of African-Americans, all minorities and women in the Coast Guard and his community," his award citation said. He created several programs aimed at youth and planned, coordinated and hosted many community outreach events during African-American History Month and in celebration of Martin Luther King Day. He also instituted civil rights activities and events that are a key part of the annual Juneau community calendar.
Jones organized a volunteer team to provide college admissions and scholarship application assistance to minority high school seniors, doubling the acceptance rate of Juneau's minority seniors to college programs in 2003.
Among a host of other contributions, Reed was recognized for co-founding a young adults group and spearheading their fundraising effort for the March of Dimes. He also was cited for garnering grants of more than $400,000 for local community organizations. As a charter Alpha Phi Alpha member, Reed is credited with implementing two of his fraternity's national programs aimed at encouraging education and establishing moral standards for young people.
Cooper was honored for "fostering civil and human rights and equality throughout his 46 years of government service."
His citation said he "acted as a true ambassador during his more than 20 years in Europe and Asia," which "broke down barriers preventing women from serving in the military police career field" in the Air Force. He's also credited with helping a Vietnamese family of 12 relocate to the United States. The family, the citation said, "became contributing members of their new community and nation." And, the citation continued, he had numerous sensitive assignments that led to the improvement of relations between the United States and the armed forces of France and Portugal.
The ceremony was highlighted with a special Wilkins award to Robert G. Cook, in recognition of many years of outstanding contributions as chief of Air Force equal opportunity policy.
Roy Wilkins led the NAACP for 22 years, using legislation and the court system as weapons to fight for equality and constitutional justice. Among his most ardent causes were anti-lynching laws, fair housing laws, equal opportunity employment and integration.
The Roy Wilkins Renown Service Award was instituted in 1975 in recognition of the distinguished service of Roy Wilkins, who established the NAACP Armed Services and Veterans Affairs Department in 1969.
NAACP officials said Wilkins recognized that the same strides that were being in civil and human rights for African-Americans in the civilian populace must also encompass those who serve in the military.