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DOD Announces 2024 Spirit of Service Award Recipients

Today, as part of Public Service Recognition Week, the Defense Department honored the recipients of the 2024 Spirit of Service Award at the Pentagon.

The Pentagon Seal.
Pentagon Seal
The Pentagon Press Briefing Room, Jan. 27, 2021.
Photo By: Lisa Ferdinando, DOD
VIRIN: 210127-D-BN624-0032

The Spirit of Service Award recognizes outstanding civilian employees within the National Capital Region who display the core qualities of honor, integrity and excellence in their everyday service during the previous year. 

"During the first week in May, we take time away from our work in defense of our nation to acknowledge those members of the department who have demonstrated significant contributions in service to our country," said Jennifer C. Walsh, performance improvement officer and director of administration and management. 

Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks thanked public servants for their service in a recorded message and shared her experience of how rewarding public service can be. "Public service careers offer a chance to make a lasting, positive impact on our world, to ensure a better future for younger generations, and to contribute to something larger than oneself."


A theme consistent among all these recipients today is that they lead in their areas of expertise, share their knowledge and mentor their teammates within their organizations. They guide their colleagues and teams and build resilience in the workforce.  

Recipients include 24 civil servants from the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Joint Staff, and the services: 

Office of the Secretary of Defense 

  • Jaime J. Bestard, Chief Engineer, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Mission Capabilities, Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Research and Engineering; 
  • Salvatore J. Demarco, Government Information Specialist (Congressional Liaison), Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency; 
  • Alicia M. Freelon, Senior Auditor, Defense Contract Audit Agency; 
  • Charles Gabrial, Digital Health Standards Lead, Defense Health Agency; 
  • Brianna M. Neasham, Attorney-Advisor, Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness; 
  • Matthew D. Poe, Chief Data Officer, Defense Technical Information Center, Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Research and Engineering; 
  • Paul Turney, Deputy General Counsel, White House Military Office; and 
  • Michael A. Wilson, Deputy Director of Compliance, Office of Local Defense Community Cooperation. 

Joint Staff 

  • Jessica R. Todd, Director, Future Technology Office, Joint Force Integration, Joint Force Development Directorate. 

Department of the Army 

  • Vernon Bahm, Chief, Campaign Analysis Division, Center for Army Analysis, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, G-8; 
  • Maritza Cordova-Kennedy, Human Resources Specialist, Office of the Administrative Assistant to the Secretary of the Army; 
  • Jonathan J. Lee, Senior Enterprise Architecture, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, G-1; and 
  • Debra M. Woods, Program Information System Security Manager, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, G-1.

Department of the Air Force 

  • Brandy A. Barrere, Program Protection Lead, Systems Security Engineering and Cyber Division, Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Science, Technology, and Engineering; 
  • Robin L. Brodrick, Chief, Medical Law Branch, Claims and Tort Litigation Division, Air Force Legal Operations Agency; 
  • Laurie A. Murphy, Chief, Department of the Air Force Voluntary Education Programs and Air Force Automated Education Management System Program Manager, A1D, A1, Manpower, Personnel and Services; 
  • Michael S. Nelson, Senior Facilities Sustainment, Restoration, and Modernization Policy Manager, Headquarters Air Force; and 
  • Valerie N. Stangle, Chief of Staff, Plans and Programs, Headquarters Air Force.

Department of the Navy 

  • Dyan L. Delcoco, Events Specialist, Department of the Navy/Assistant for Administration; 
  • Richard O. McMillen, Supervisory Information Technology Specialist (Policy Planning/Network), Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Operations, Plans and Strategy; 
  • Jeffrey J. Roman, International Program Policy Officer, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations; 
  • Holly S. Wessmiller, Resources/Requirements Assistant Program Manager, Surface Training Systems, Naval Sea Systems Command; 
  • George E. Berger, Program Manager, Emergency Dispatch Services, Marine Corps Installations Command 0343; and 
  • Angela D. Howard, Enterprise Program Manager, Defense Travel System, Programs and Resources Department, Headquarters Marine Corps. 

The ceremony at the Pentagon Auditorium honoring the 2024 Department of Defense Spirit of Service Award recipients can be viewed online

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