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Navy Civilians Awarded First Ever Service Commendation Medals

January 16, 2019 at 4:38 PM UTC
Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jonathan Nelson

Adm. James G. Foggo III, commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa (CNE-A) and commander, Allied Joint Force Command Naples, Italy, awarded Bilyana Atova Reece the first ever Navy Civilian Service Commendation Medal, and awarded Kaitlyn Owens and Sara Givens the first ever Navy Civilian Service Achievement Medals at Naval Support Activity Naples, Jan. 16, 2019.

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“This is a great day for our civilian personnel here,” said Foggo. “Our civilians are core members of our team.”

“There was an initiative started by our civilian advisory board to recognize our civilian shipmates. Today we finally have an opportunity to highlight the accomplishments of some of our best and brightest and present the first of these newly designed awards.”

In 2017, the Civilian Advisory Board for CNE-A identified a lack of honorary awards for civilian DoN employees.

Department of Navy (DoN) civilians were eligible for the fewest number of medals and civilian service awards compared to civilians working for the Department of Army and Department of the Air Force.  By excluding achievements of a more narrow scope or impact, a majority of the workforce was omitted from receiving recognition for their contributions until they are well advanced in their careers, if at all.

“It’s been an honor working on this with the team,” said Givens. “We were pleasantly surprised that it went so quickly, but it’s nice to see it in fruition and finally being distributed this year.”

In July 2017, CNE-A signed the proposal to the Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) requesting for the addition of the two newly designed civilian honorary medals. Then in Sept. 2017, the proposal for the awards was presented to the DoN Executive Management Awards Panel and was immediately endorsed and forwarded to SECNAV for approval.

April 24, 2018, the awards were approved by SECNAV without any significant changes from the original proposed design.

“Really it was a team effort,” said Owens, “I’m so proud to be considered part of this team. The reason why the proposed package was so good was because of the team.”

This year, the medals will be awarded Navy-wide. The original initiative led by a small team of CNE-A civilians will have direct impact to more than 185,000 DoN employees.

CNE-A/U.S. 6th Fleet, headquartered in Naples, oversees joint and naval operations, often in concert with allied and interagency partners, in order to advance U.S. national interests and security and stability in Europe and Africa.

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