The Department of Defense will showcase its anti-drug awareness and educational activities in American neighborhoods and schools during the 13th annual "Red Ribbon Week" at the Pentagon, Oct. 27 - 29, 2003. Each year, DoD and the military services sponsor a series of Red Ribbon Week activities to focus attention on the destructive effects that drugs have on our nation.
In 1985, Special Agent Enrique S. "Kiki" Camarena of the Drug Enforcement
Administration was kidnapped in Guadalajara, Mexico, and killed by drug traffickers. Shortly after Camarena's death, citizens from his hometown of Calexico, Calif., began to wear red ribbons to remember him and to commemorate his sacrifice. The anti-drug message spread quickly and in 1988 the National Family Partnership took the Red Ribbon Celebration nationwide.
Since 1990, the Secretary of Defense has recognized Red Ribbon Week as the
appropriate time to acknowledge the department's community drug awareness efforts. During the three-day event at the Pentagon, the department recognizes outstanding anti-drug awareness programs, and sponsors displays highlighting community outreach efforts in the defense community.
On Monday, Oct. 27, at 11 a.m. EDT, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict Thomas W. O’Connell will host the opening ceremony for Red Ribbon Week activities. Miss USA ® Susie Castillo and Darrell Green, former Washington Redskin, will speak on the benefits of leading a drug free life. O’Connell will also present the 13th annual Secretary of Defense Community Drug Awareness Awards to five service recipients. The afternoon ceremony at 2:30 p.m. includes appearances by Lynda Carter (Wonder Woman); Jerry Nadeau, Army Nascar driver; R. Lee Ermey, actor and Vietnam veteran (USMC); and noted Jazz artist Ski Johnson.
On Tuesday, Oct. 28 between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. there will be autograph sessions and display of vehicles with Pete Neimeier, 2002 Dodge Intrepid minicup racecar; Eric Saunders, Suzuki motocross; Justin Allgaier, 2003 Pontiac Grand Prix Stock Car; Bill Lester, 2003 Dodge Craftsman Truck Series; and display of the Race Against Drugs boat and M&M Nascar racecar. At 1:30 p.m. there will be a short ceremony recognizing anti-drug programs. Various agencies will have displays on the concourse from Monday, Oct. 27, until Wednesday, Oct. 29. All Red Ribbon Week events are open to the media.
For further information, contact Lt. Col. Rivers Johnson, at (703) 697-5131.