By T. Anthony Bell, Fort Lee Public AffairsMarch 27, 2009
Fort Lee, Va. (Mach 19, 2009) -- For Master Sgt. Danettelynn Brown, it is somewhat bittersweet to start and end a career at the same location.
"As a quartermaster Soldier it is a rarity for you to actually retire or end your career here (at Fort Lee) where you started it," she said.
Brown's sentiments came during an awards ceremony held Friday at the Office of the Staff Judge Advocate's conference room, where she and her husband, Master Sgt. Sheldon Brown, were honored for their service to the Quartermaster Corps.
Brig. Gen. Jesse R. Cross, Quartermaster Center and School commanding general, presented Danettelynn with the Distinguished Order of St. Martin, the second-highest award in the Corps.A,A Sheldon was honored with the Catharine Greene Award for spousal support.
Danettelynn, who will wear the uniform for the last time in May, said the Order of St. Martin award is a measure of distinction and she is proud to be a recipient.
"I'm at a loss for words," said Brown after the ceremony, which was attended by about 20 people.
The Baltimore native went on to say the award can be attributed to her varied assignments as a quartermaster, especially those similar to the trial-by-fire experiences of her first assignment in a military intelligence unit.
"A lot of what they didn't do, they expected me to do," she recalled.A,A I picked up the food, delivered laundry, opened the arms room, issued supplies and coordinated fuel runs.A,A Everything that quartermaster Soldiers do in each of our specialties, I performed in that military intelligence unit.A,A So for me, this award means everything, because I actually put in the work of a true quartermaster Soldier."
Brown's supervisor, Lt. Col. Michael Kanney, the installation's inspector general, noted his Soldier's storied career and characterized her as a "phenomenal individual" who is more than deserving of the Corps' second-highest honor.
"(The Order of St. Martin) is just one of many awards that she will receive in her lifetime," he said of his noncommissioned officer in charge.A,A "I met Master Sgt. Brown about two years ago and handpicked her as an E-7 to come work for me. Within the last few years I watched her bloom from being a young Soldier to someone I would almost consider equivalent to a field grade officer."
Danettelynn's husband, Sheldon, who attended the ceremony with the couple's two teenaged children, is currently on leave from a tour in Iraq. Assigned to Fort Lee's Company A, 244th QM Battalion, 23rd QM Brigade, he became the first active duty Soldier to be recognized with the Catharine Greene Award for support he provided to his wife during her career.
"I take it as an honor, being a quartermaster being married to a quartermaster Soldier," said Sheldon.A,A "It is not often that two quartermaster Soldiers get to be honored at the same time, especially by the quartermaster general."
The Browns have been married 18 years, and like many other dual-military couples, have endured the rigors of balancing career and Family.A,A Danettelynn said it wasn't easy but having a grasp of what the other was experiencing made it less difficult.
"We each understood what the other was going through," she said, "so for me to understand his hard day at work and for him to understand my hard day at work made things easier."
Danettelynn said the Family has plans to reside in the local area to, amongst other things, provide some measure of permanence for their children.
"I just finished school and I'm thinking about going back for a PhD," she said. "The kids are in high school so I kind of want to give them that stability to where they can finish and go off to college, and then I'll think about what I want to do after that."