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Six Civilians Receive DoD's Top Service Award

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 23, 2002 – Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz presented six employees with the department's highest civilian service award here Oct. 22.

Wolfowitz presented the Distinguished Civilian Service Award to the recipients during a ceremony in their honor at the Pentagon.

While the award could be given to a DoD civilian of any grade, this was the first time anyone below GS-15 has received one. In the past, only members of the Senior Executive Service or GS-15s, the top of the civil service pyramid, have received it.

The two precedent setters were Sarah Tackett, GS-14, chief of professional staff management at the Air Force Materiel Command, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio; and Isaiah Ravenel, GS-11, chief of Detachment 2, Air Postal Squadron, at Yokota Air Base, Japan.

The other recipients were John La Raia, assistant for administration in the Office of the Undersecretary of the Navy; William Corsetti, director for strategic plans and policy, Joint Staff; Nancy Spruill, director of acquisition resources and analysis, Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics; and Peter Klein, senior collection adviser, Defense Human Resources Intelligence Service, Defense Intelligence Agency.

Wolfowitz used the occasion to laud government service. "While we have here today a wide range of talents and expertise, there is one thing you all share: a commitment to public service that advances freedom's cause," he said. "Through your work, you contribute to the enduring values that America stands for: the right to live in safety and security, the right to enjoy peace and prosperity, the right to self-government that we prize so much in our great country."

The deputy said the six honorees expressed their excellence in a variety of ways. "You've looked for ways to save lives, from better patient care and Pentagon recovery operations to better human intelligence, and you've found them," he said. "You've searched for ways to improve our operations -- from moving tons of mail overseas in the wake of anthrax threats to improving business initiatives, and you've succeeded.

"Your efforts -- and those of all the civilians who serve throughout the department -- ensure that our warriors in Afghanistan, those here in America and around the world, have the weapons and support they need today," he continued. "Your vision and dedication will help us fulfill the department's responsibility to ensure our military men and women have the tools they will need in the decades to come."

Tackett was cited for her leadership, foresight, initiative and technical expertise in making the Air Force Materiel Command the service's first to collect data on clinical near-misses that served as a model to improve patient safety throughout federal health care facilities.

Ravenel received the award for his efforts in expediting the transport of more than 48 million pounds of mail for over 300,000 U.S. government personnel and family members in the Pacific Theater. He also was recognized for diplomacy and postal expertise in negotiations with the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

La Raia was cited for leadership and service on Sept. 11, 2001, that helped Navy and Marine Corps headquarters elements continue their missions nearly seamlessly following the terrorist attack on the Pentagon.

Corsetti received the award for contributions to the development of the 2001 Joint Strategy Review, analysis of the risks identified during the Dynamic Commitment and Positive Match war games, and the preparation of the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff's risk assessment in the Quadrennial Defense Review report.

Spruill was credited with leadership, commitment and executive-level accomplishments in projects ranging from providing recommendations to the Quadrennial Defense Review, to streamlining the Planning, Programming, and Budgeting System, to championing E-business initiatives.

Klein was recognized for his work in developing new policies and procedures to enhance DoD support to military commanders and defense policy makers and to support of operations Enduring Freedom and Noble Eagle.

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