NAACP Awards Military Personnel as Homeland Security Secretary Chertoff Recognizes their ContributionsJuly 09, 2007
July 10, 2007
More than a dozen military personnel received distinguished
honors during the 32nd annual Armed Services and Veterans Affairs
Awards dinner this week at the National Association for the
Advancement of Colored People’s 98th annual convention, held in
U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff was the evening’s keynote speaker, highlighting the contributions of minorities in the military as U.S. forces continue to fight terrorism at home and abroad.
The event honored 13 military personnel who have worked to promote and implement equal opportunity positions in the military.
Chertoff received this year’s Benjamin L. Hooks Distinguished Service Award, given to a U.S. Department of Defense civilian in a policy-making position for their efforts in implementing policies and programs which promote equal opportunity in the military. Chertoff was noted for his extensive commitment to justice, equal rights and upholding the law.
Admiral Thad W. Allen, Commandant, U.S. Coast Guard, was awarded the Meritorious Service Award, for exceptional meritorious service to the government for championing equal opportunity, civil rights, diversity and anti-discrimination policy initiatives.
This year’s recipients of the Roy Wilkins Renown Service Award included: U.S. Army Major General John R. Hawkins, III, recognized for involvement in his local community as a passionate and engaged leader; U.S. Marine Corps Captain Tito M. Jones, noted for representation and recruitment efforts throughout Louisiana and Mississippi and at Historically Black Colleges and Universities; U.S. Air Force Senior Master Sergeant Juanita D. Osby, recognized for providing support to minority women and children, military base and community activities; U.S. Coast Guard Lieutenant commander John W. Pruitt, III, recognized for serving as a mentor and role model for minority officers; U.S. Navy Lieutenant Commander Jimmy L. Ryals; Wanda L.P. Smith, of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency; California Air National Guard Master Sergeant Christopher D. Underwood; and Minnesota Army National Guard Lieutenant Colonel Trancey Williams.
Dr. Elizabeth Allen was this year’s co-recipient of the Jesse
Brown Distinguished Leadership Award, honoring an American who
works diligently to ensure that all veterans are provided the
benefits and services they have earned through honorable service to
their country. Allen, a retired professor of psychiatric nursing at
the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, was a captain in the army
nurse corps and head nurse in Viet Nam (1967-68) and she is the
former chairperson of the Michigan Agent Orange Commission.
The second recipient, Robert W. Fletcher, is National Commander, American Ex-POWs Association, a Korean War ex-POW and member of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs and National Advisory Committee on POW/MIA issues.
The veterans’ affairs department of the United Auto Workers in Detroit (UAW) were awarded with this year’s Julius E. Williams Distinguished Community Service Award, honoring a veteran’s organization that has influenced broad service initiatives through community service partnerships. The mission of the UAW’s veterans’ affairs department is to assist in answering the political and social needs and problems of its member veterans and their families.
To learn more about the NAACP Veterans’ Affairs Division and the NAACP 98th
Annual Convention, visit www.naacp.org or www.naacpwebcast.com .
Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation's oldest and largest civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities, conducting voter mobilization and monitoring equal opportunity in the public and private sectors.