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DoD Prepares for Public Service Recognition Week, May 9-12

By Sgt. 1st Class Kathleen T. Rhem, USA
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 6, 2002 – Hundreds of Defense Department employees are getting ready to man their displays later this week for Public Service Recognition Week festivities on the National Mall here.

Several military helicopters were flown in today in preparation for their public viewing this weekend. The military services and many defense agencies will have a chance to strut their stuff during the annual event.

Public Service Recognition Week began in 1986 to help the public understand what their civil servants do. "Part of the negative perception about public employees is that people don't really understand all that they do," said Joan Keston, a former chairwoman of the Public Employees Roundtable.

"People just assume their water will be clean, their food will be OK, the fire and police departments will come when they're called, and teachers will always teach," Keston said.

Unfortunately, it took something as "dramatic and pervasive" as the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, to make people understand the important contributions of civil servants, she said.

Public Service Recognition Week provides an opportunity for government agencies to reach out to the general public and showcase their contributions. Keston also said PSRW is a boost to recruiting for government agencies. "The work needs to be understood and respected to get the best and the brightest into government," she said.

More than 1,200 cities around the country have formal Public Service Recognition Week events. In Washington, more than 60 government agencies will have displays set up on the Mall. DoD organizations will take up an entire block.

DoD's displays will be open for public viewing May 9 from noon to 5 p.m., May 10 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and May 11 and 12 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

All the military services will bring vehicles and equipment to display. Several DoD agencies will also have fun and educational displays and activities. A few highlights:

  • The Army will display helicopters, an M-1 Abrams tank, an M-2 Bradley fighting vehicle and several artillery pieces.

  • The Navy will set up a dive demonstration tank.

  • The Marine Corps display will feature two Light Armored Vehicles.

  • The Air Force will set up a flight simulator and display that service's NASCAR racecar and an unmanned Predator aircraft.

  • The Defense Protective Service will have McGruff the Crime Dog on hand for youngsters.

  • The Washington Headquarters Service will man a display entitled "United in Memory." The display will include a tribute to those killed in the Pentagon Sept. 11 and examples of items sent to the Pentagon in solidarity from around the world.

  • The National Imagery and Mapping Agency will display 3- D maps of Salt Lake City, Utah, that were used to coordinate security during the 2002 Winter Olympic Games, and similar maps of Afghanistan used by forces in the region.

  • A tent set up by U.S. Special Operations Command will showcase that organization's unique capabilities.

For more information on Public Service Recognition Week activities, go to the DefenseLINK special report at www.defenselink.mil/specials/publicservice02/ or visit the Public Employees Roundtable Web site at www.theroundtable.org.

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