NCO first to receive Pace Award
August 5, 2009
By J.D. Leipold
WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Aug. 5, 2009) -- For the first time in the history of the Pace Award, which was created in 1962, a noncommissioned officer has also been selected as an award recipient alongside an Army officer and Army civilian.
Named for former Secretary of the Army Frank Pace Jr., the award has been presented annually to a lieutenant colonel or below and a civilian employee, GS-14 equivalent or below who is assigned in a staff capacity to Army headquarters.
In honor of the Year of the Noncommissioned Officer, the calendar year 2008 awards included a category to recognize a master sergeant or below, who along with officer and civilian counterparts made contributions of outstanding significance that benefit the Army by providing substantial financial savings or technological or military development.
Hosting the awards at Pentagon ceremony Wednesday morning, Secretary of the Army Pete Geren said the Pace awards were one of the highest forms of recognition the Army had and was given to those who have gone well beyond what is expected of them.
"The recipients of this award are demonstrated performers who have contributed significant improvements in an Army service area," he said. "They represent the multitudes of talent that make up the Army today...that make up our all volunteer force, a force which is really the strength of our Soldiers, civilians and Army families."
Master Sgt. Stuart T. Coupe was selected as the Pace Award's first NCO recipient while serving as an action officer within the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, G-1.
Coupe provided instrumental support of the Army Medical Action Plan by creating a one-source document for guidance on administrative policy for warriors in transition. While rewriting and reorganizing written policies, Coupe became the recognized subject-matter expert on administrative processes in place to care for Army wounded, ill and injured Soldiers.
"I had no idea that I'd been nominated for the Pace Award and then when I found out I was going to be awarded, it was a humbling experience to say the least," said Coupe. "It feels good to know that the hard work you put into something every day is recognized."
The officer award went to Maj. James E. White, a modeling and simulation officer in the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, G-2. He was recognized for his integration of the Army's flagship Intelligence Analysis System and the Distributed Common Ground System-Army into training centers which provides units with critical pre-deployment training in support of operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.
"The award feels pretty good. When you work at the staff, you don't think about getting any accolades or any credit, you just do what you do, so when I found out I was nominated and selected I was pretty surprised," White said.
The civilian award went to Albert D. Orwig, a program budget analyst in the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, G-8. His superior technical abilities were instrumental in the development of the next-generation Web service interfaces with the Defense Department. The interfaces increased data security and accuracy while reducing submission and reconciliation times by half.
"I feel quite honored by this award. I always felt that everything I'm doing is with a team and a team effort, so it was a real surprise to be singled out for a job I feel is important and that contributes a great deal to supporting our Soldiers," Orwig said.