FT. WAINWRIGHT, Alaska - Two members of Medical Department Activity -- Alaska were awarded one of the most prestigious honors in military medicine: the Order of Military Medical Merit (O2M3) during the MEDDAC-AK annual winter ball held at the Westmark Hotel Jan 26.

Lt. Col. Rachel Stratman, assistant deputy commander of nursing services and Command Sgt. Maj. Jesus Rios, joined the distinguished ranks of the O2M3, a unique, private organization founded by the Commanding General of U.S. Army Health Services Command in 1982.

Membership into the 02M3 seeks to recognize military medicine leaders who have demonstrated the highest standards of integrity and moral character, displayed an outstanding degree of professional competence, served in the Army Medical Department for a minimum of 10 years, with selflessness, and have made a sustained contribution to the betterment of Army Medicine.

The awardees, nominated by fellow 02M3 awardee and deputy commander for nursing at MEDDAC-AK, Col. Tamara Crawford, each have a long history of excellence within the Army Medical Department.

Lt. Col. Rachel Stratman -- Stratman received a direct commission in 1999 as a critical care nurse and first served at William Beaumont Army Medical Center, Ft. Bliss, Texas.

Crawford acknowledged Stratman for her development and implementation of the aerodynamic evacuation doctrine while deployed with the 10th Combat Support Hospital in Baghdad, Iraq in 2005. Caring for an average of 100 sever trauma patients per month during her 12 month tour, Stratman's efforts directly impacted the 94% survival rate of casualties evacuated to Ibn Sina Hospital.

"In 2012, Lt. Col. Stratman was assigned to the 2nd Forward Surgical Team as the chief nurse," said Crawford. "She dedicated time and effort in ensuring her team was ready to deploy through establishing a comprehensive clinical skills training program through the local treatment facility."

According to Crawford, one of Stratman's most significant contributions to the Army Medical Department, is her involvement in the pre-implementation and subsequent deployment of MHS Genesis, the new Department of the Defense electronic health record.

"Lt. Col. Stratman has dedicated herself to the AMEDD, contributing immensely to all functional areas and is clearly deserving of induction inot the Order of Military Medical Merit," said Crawford.

Command Sgt. Maj. Jesus Rios -- Rios contributed to the AMEDD almost since the moment he enlisted in the Army as a medical specialist 25 years ago, deploying with C Company, 3-15th Mechanized Ingranty Battalion, 24th Infantry Division to Somalia in support of Operation Continue Hope, within months of his enlistment.

In Rios's nomination packet Crawford cited Rios's numerous accolades while serving as an AMEDD recruit from 2006-2009.

"He developed and implemented unique and productive ways to market the Army and always represent himself as a soldier who truly cared about the welfare of the applicant," said Crawford. "Rios was ranked 15 of 348 recruiters during this period, selected to attend the Commander's Advisory Council three years consecutively, and also eared the Recruiter Ring, followed by the USAREC Glen E. Morrell Award, the highest award for recruiting excellence."

Crawford also acknowledged Rios's six-year assignment to the U.S. Army Office of Military Support, where most of accomplishments were classified.

"Rios was recognized with the Defense Meritorious Service Medal in 2013 for his dynamic leadership, attention to detail and relentless pursuit of excellence as well as his professionalism and unmatched expertise in the human performance arena, distinguishing him as a coveted subject matter expert in this community," said Crawford.

According to Crawford, while assigned as the 1st Cavalry Division Surgeon Sgt. Maj., Rios was responsible for the Army Health Service Support for over 18,000 Soldiers across five brigades, a DIVARTY, and the division headquarters; significantly impacting the division's overall medical readiness.

"Command Sgt. Maj. Rios is an AMEDD leader and worthy to be recognized as a member of the Order of Military Medical Merit," said Crawford.

For more information on the 02M3 and to see a list of all 02M3 members, go to ameddregiment.amedd.army.mil/merit/o2m3.html.