In a ceremony in the Pentagon today, Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Rudy de Leon presented, on behalf of Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen, the Department of Defense (DoD) annual awards to DoD organizations with outstanding affirmative action programs for people with disabilities and to 17 outstanding DoD civilian employees with disabilities. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Henry H. Shelton introduced the keynote speaker, retired Army Sgt. 1st Class Dana Bowman. Bowman lost both legs in a training accident in 1994 but re-enlisted to become a motivational speaker for the U.S. Parachute Team and the Army's Recruiting Command for two years before retiring from active service.
The organizations recognized with 1998 Secretary of Defense Trophies for Progress in Employing People with Disabilities were: the Department of the Navy, for Best Military Department; the Army and Air Force Exchange Service, for Best Mid-Size Component (organizations with 30,000 or more civilian employees); and the Defense Investigative Service, for Best Small Component (organizations with fewer than 30,000 civilian employees).
Individuals with disabilities receiving awards for outstanding performance were: Christopher C. Popp, U.S. Army Operational Test and Evaluation Command, Department of the Army, Fort Hood, Texas; John D. Pavao, Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division, Department of the Navy, Newport, R.I.; Floyd Collins, Directorate of Commodities, Department of the Air Force, Tinker Air Force Base, Okla.; Hazel A. Carr, Records Management Branch, Washington Headquarters Service, Office of the Secretary of Defense, Alexandria, Va.; Judy Howery, Army and Air Force Exchange Service, Patrick Air Force Base, Fla.; Joseph A. Migliacci, Defense Commissary Agency, Royal Air Force Base, Croughton, England; Paul C. Higgins, Lockheed Martin Tactical Aircraft Systems Resident Office, Defense Contract Audit Agency, Fort Worth, Texas; Kathryn R. Vaughn, Defense Finance and Accounting Service Indianapolis Center, Indianapolis, Ind.; Louis F. Caplan, Simulation and Assessment Directorate, Defense Information Systems Agency, Arlington, Va.; Christie Childers, National Military Joint Intelligence Center, Defense Intelligence Agency, Washington, D.C.; Lola B. Cox, Defense Supply Center, Defense Logistics Agency, Richmond, Va.; Lucio P. Massa, Defense Security Service Operations Center, Defense Security Service, Columbus, Ohio; Peter Vaz, Department
of Defense Education Activity, Juffair, Bahrain; Stephanie Richardson, Human Resources Office, National Guard Bureau, Washington, D.C.; Alfred P. Maneki, Architectures and Applications Division, National Security Agency, Fort Meade, Md.; Marcia L. Ukleya, Office of the Assistant Inspector General for Auditing, Office of the Inspector General, Arlington, Va.; and Karen L. Williams, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences, Bethesda, Md.
"I am proud to say that the Department of Defense has been successful in employing persons with all types of disabilities," de Leon said. "We currrently employ more than 7,500 individuals with the severe disabilities targeted by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for emphasis in affirmative action programs. In the Department of Defense we are hiring individuals with disabilities who have the abilities we need."
In support of the national observance to promote employment of people with disabilities, the DoD designated October 1998 as Disability Employment Awareness Month throughout the DoD. The theme for this year's observance is "Opening Doors to Ability."