WASHINGTON (Army News Service, May 25, 2016) -- "People are our greatest resource, and the quality of your service, and the depth of your commitment, are a big reason why our Army is such a valued part of our society," said Eric K. Fanning.

Fanning, sworn in as secretary of the Army just last week, recognized a dozen Army civilians and Soldiers for their contributions to the Army, during the 2016 Secretary of the Army Awards ceremony, May 25 at the Pentagon.

Fanning said that today, the Army remains engaged in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as 140 locations around the world. Some 190,000 Soldiers, he said, are now deployed or forward stationed around the globe. Additionally, he said, the Army is faced with other "serious challenges that potentially await us in the future. The question facing us is how to simultaneously prepare for both, in the event they require different answers.

"We are grateful to have dedicated professionals who are working diligently to develop creative solutions for these complex problems," he said. "They champion equal opportunity in their organizations, increased outreach and advocacy for small business, decrease the time required for publications and doctrine to reach the warfighter, and advance the Army's science and technology programs in the face of a declining budget."

Two of the civilians who were honored he called out by name, including Sherman L. Fleek, who "placed himself in harm's way to stop an armed robbery," and Valerie P. Stevenson, whose "work with the Detroit University Prep Academy High School focuses on mentoring college-bound high school students.

"Our strength, the strength of this nation, has come from our values, our ethos and our people," Fanning said. "The Soldiers and civilians we honor today epitomize the best the Army has to offer."

During the 2016 Secretary of the Army Awards Ceremony, 12 Department of the Army civilians and Soldiers were awarded for their performance over the past year. They are:

-- The Secretary of the Army Award for Valor: Sherman L. Fleek, historian at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York

On May 31, 2015, Fleek was on leave visiting a restaurant when he witnessed an armed robbery in progress. Without hesitation, he tackled and fought a man robbing the cashier at gunpoint and forced the robber to flee. His actions, which saved the lives of countless patrons and employees, according to the citation, exemplify the Army values of duty, selfless service, and personal courage.

-- The Diversity and Leadership Programs Award: Donald G. Salo Jr., director of the Defense Forensics and Biometrics Agency, Office of the Provost Marshal General, Arlington, Virginia

Citation: As director, Salo created and implemented best practices supporting diversity and inclusion that earned the agency recognition as a model EEO program within the Army. In addition to an open-door policy, he hosts brown bag lunches with nonsupervisory employees to address issues at the lowest level. He uses multiple avenues to ensure transparent communication up, down, and across the organization. To expand recruitment opportunities, vacancy announcements are emailed to all employees and every panel includes minority representation. In addition, he and a female employee walk through the workplace each quarter, checking for offensive material. Salo has set a standard for excellence in raising awareness and understanding.

-- The Diversity and Leadership Award (EEO Professional): Valerie P. Stevenson, equal employment opportunity officer, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Detroit District, Detroit, Michigan

Citation: Stevenson made significant contributions to the success of the Detroit District's EEO program. She implemented a model EEO program that increased awareness of EEO and diversity throughout the district. She partnered with Detroit's University Prep Academy High School in a community outreach mentoring program that allows college-bound high school students to learn about possible careers through district employees who serve as mentors. In addition, she worked with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to broaden the applicant pool and increase the number of disabled veterans in the district's workforce.

-- The Diversity and Leadership Award (Equal Opportunity Advisor): Sgt. 1st Class Anthony J. Lombardo Jr., equal opportunity advisor, 25th Combat Aviation Brigade, Wheeler Army Airfield, Hawaii

Citation: Lombardo demonstrated incomparable leadership as an equal opportunity advisor for the 25th Infantry Division's 25th Combat Aviation Brigade and its Headquarters and Headquarters' Battalion, supporting about 5,000 Soldiers. He developed the first equal opportunity action plan standard operating procedure that synchronized operations, streamlined reporting, and increased communication. He mentored 118 battalion and company EO leaders, and led three EO leader's courses, training and certifying 151 personnel. He also expertly administered and analyzed 51 command climate surveys, then worked with each commander to develop effective action plans. Compassionate, empathetic, and uncompromising in his commitment to fair and equitable treatment, he affected positive change and set a standard of care for Soldiers and families. Lombardo exemplifies the best of the Noncommissioned Officer Corps.

-- The Small Business Utilization Award, Dr. Donna Peebles, director, Office of Small Business Programs, National Guard Bureau, Washington, D.C.

Citation: Peebles transformed the National Guard Bureau's Small Business Program by institutionalizing policies and practices, championing customer training and education, and engaging industry through a well-crafted outreach effort. Despite a scant 15 months in the job, her dynamic leadership, proactive advocacy, and coalition building resulted in the bureau awarding an unprecedented 73.1 percent, or $1.22 billion to small business firms. Peebles' unwavering dedication to excellence has propelled enduring change and elevated the reputation of the bureau as an advocate for small business.

-- The Secretary of the Army Award for Editor of the Year (Departmental): Edward E. Montgomery, human resource specialist (military), Directorate of Military Personnel Management, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, G-1, the Pentagon

Citation: Montgomery's extraordinary efforts as a writer, editor, and policy analyst for the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, G-1, were critical to the successful coordination and publication of key personnel policies for our Soldiers and families. He led the development, adjudication, and publication of the Army regulations on retirement for non-regular service and enlisted promotions and reductions. His work resulted in in-depth, well-organized products with improved readability and significantly reduced length. In addition, he served as a policy advisor and analyst in support of the secretary's Army Total Force policy initiative, helping the directive complete six publication actions to ensure their currency.

-- The Secretary of the Army Award for Editor of the Year (Command): Patricia M. Radcliffe, writer and editor, Air Land Sea Application Center, Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia

Citation: Radcliffe's superb performance significantly improved the quality of publications and efficiency of the editing process at the Air Land Sea Application Center. In addition to editing 12 Army tactical publications that standardized multi-service tactics, techniques, and procedures to enhance interoperability and combat capability, she spearheaded improvements in the center's training and publication processes. She developed and implemented formal training for new action officers that covered writing, grammar and punctuation, editing skills, and Microsoft Word. She also planned, coordinated, and facilitated a two-day editors' meeting and joint working group to improve the center's editing standards. The group's continuing interaction and collaboration has resulted in solutions for common challenges and increased efficiencies across the services.

-- The Secretary of the Army Award for Publications Improvements (Command): Lt. Col. Dana Smith, deputy director, Air Land Sea Application Center, JBLM; Patricia M. Radcliffe, writer and editor, Air Land Sea Application Center, JBLM; Laura M. Caswell, illustrator, Air Land Sea Application Center, JBLM

Citation: Smith, Caswell, and Radcliffe worked to get the most current doctrine to warfighters as quickly as possible. Smith identified unnecessary steps in the internal and external processes for publishing doctrine that eliminated redundant workload and resulted in an 88-percent decrease in the time needed to publish approved documents. Caswell restructured the center's website to collect qualitative and quantitative data to measure content applicability at the tactical level. This effort allowed the center to focus content on current development and requirements. Radcliffe developed and implemented formal training for new action officers that dramatically improved the quality of products and increased throughput to Soldiers in the field.

-- The Secretary of the Army Award for Publications Improvements (Departmental): Gregory J. Orme, chief, Media Production Division, U.S. Army John F Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School, U.S. Army Special Operations Command, Fort Bragg, North Carolina

Citation: Orne developed and implemented comprehensive changes to the program and processes for developing doctrine and training literature. He improved efficiency and reduced waste, cutting the development cycle for individual publications by two months and garnering an 853-percent increase in production by each employee. As a result, 61 percent of Army special operations doctrine was published within the last two years compared with a 38-percent currency rate Army wide. In addition, he embraced initiatives from U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command that led to the most sweeping doctrine changes in generations, including the development of new publication types and prototypes for interactive doctrine.

-- The Decoration for Exceptional Civilian Service: Barry J. Pike, deputy program executive officer, Program Executive Office Missiles and Space Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology, Redstone Arsenal, Alabama

Citation: Pike distinguished himself with outstanding organizational leadership, unmatched program knowledge, and extraordinary strategic vision. As the Army's manager for tactical missile systems, air and missile defense systems, and select space systems, he guided 40 acquisition programs with a budget exceeding $3.4 billion and more than 1,300 contract actions for about $6.3 billion. In addition, he led his team to realize more than $141 million in cost savings from "Should Cost'' management, Better Buying Power and Lean Six Sigma initiatives. His total commitment to excellence, mission accomplishment, and the warfighter, inspired and motivated organizational achievement and excellence beyond the program executive office.

-- The Decoration for Exceptional Civilian Service: Mary J. Miller, deputy assistant secretary of the Army for research and technology, Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology, the Pentagon

Citation: From her appointment as director for technology in August 2005 through her assignment as deputy program executive officer Soldier in December 2010 and her tenure as deputy assistant secretary beginning in February 2013, Miller established a stellar reputation for her technical expertise, critical problem-solving skills, and enterprise-wide perspective. Her exceptional leadership and business acumen in developing and executing well-planned and innovative research investment strategies delivered the highest quality capabilities to our Soldiers. Over the course of almost 11 years, she revitalized collaboration within the Department of Defense and advanced the Army's science and technology program.