Redstone Arsenal, Ala. -- Three U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command employees have been nominated for the 2009 Department of the Army Civilian of the Year award.

The award, sponsored by the Redstone Arsenal-Huntsville Chapter of the Association of the United States Army, recognizes civilian employees who have demonstrated exceptional performance as members of the Army team.

"I don't see myself as civilian of the year, but rather as someone who does their part of the important work as USASMDC/ARSTRAT," said Mike Nadler, a military analyst with the Future Warfare Center.

Nadler has been a DA civilian for four years and moved to the Huntsville area two years ago from Colorado Springs, Colo.

"Mike's focus on the needs of the warfighter is second to none," said Lt. Col. Richard Wolfe, Space Integration Division chief and the person who nominated Nadler. "He epitomizes the very best of civilian service and embodies the warrior ethos with a be-know-do approach to service excellence. Countless service men and women may never know him, but if they did, they would be glad to have such a consummate professional in their foxhole."

Dr. Rodney Robertson, Technical Center director, nominated two of his employees for this honor.

"I was very surprised and honored (at my nomination)," said John Wachs, chief of the Directed Energy Division of the Technology Center and one of Robertson's nominees. "I'm excited that I was nominated to represent many DA civilians who helped to accomplish a very significant technical milestone in high energy laser technology development."

Wachs has worked at USASMDC/ARSTRAT for 26 years and has been a DA civilian for 41 years.

"John Wachs is the ultimate professional," Robertson said. "His management, skills, technical competence, work ethic and personal character are unmatched."

Barbara Cantrell, a 23-year DA civilian, is Robertson's other nominee.

"I was shocked and surprised," said Cantrell, a Colorado native. "I don't feel like I've done anything special. I've just worked on the projects (Robertson) has asked me to complete. I hope I can continue to support the Technical Center."

Cantrell has lived in the Huntsville area for 12 years and works as an engineering technician and project manager for the Technical Center.

"Barbara is one of those people who can do anything," Robertson said. "During the past year, her development of 16 engineering program plans directly led these efforts to achieve their objectives on schedule and within the budget. She seems to know how everything works, and she excels at getting things done."

The awards ceremony is set for 7 p.m., March 10 at the Von Braun Center. Nominees are recognized in three categories: management/executive, professional/technical, and supporting staff. The winner in each category will progress to the AUSA Third Region (Southeast) competition slated for summer.

"Since I don't think of myself as out of the ordinary, I would be even more surprised if I won," Nadler said. "Being nominated by USASMDC/ARSTRAT, let alone moving on to regional, is far more than I ever considered."