FORT WAINWRIGHT, Alaska - Medical Department Activity -- Alaska civilian staff members were honored March 26 at Bassett Army Community Hospital to celebrate the 22nd anniversary of the formation of the U.S. Army Medical Department Civilian Corps.

Civilians have been part of the Army since the Continental Congress established a medical department on July 27, 1775. Over the nearly 240-year history of Army Medicine, civilian roles have continued to evolve. Today, civilians make up approximately 60% of the Army Medicine workforce.

"Throughout the history of the Army Medical Department, civilians have proudly served alongside uniformed service members to provide the best possible medical care and support to the Army," said Ms. Melanie Brenengen a licensed practical nurse at Bassett ACH, and master of ceremony for the event.

During the celebration Col. Tamara Crawford, MEDDAC-AK deputy commander for nursing, presented awards to the civilians of the month, quarter and year.

Mr. Gary Young a member of the information management department and Ms. Holly Dubose from internal medicine were award civilian of the month for February and March respectively.

Mr. David Nethken, a security guard at Bassett ACH was awarded both the civilian of the fourth quarter and civilian of the year.

Employed at MEDDAC-AK for just over 14 months, Nethken was surprised to be chosen by his peers.

"In all my years of employment this is the best leadership team I have ever worked with," said Nethken. "I work with a group of great civilians throughout the hospital, we are truly a team and I'm honored to be selected as the civilian of the year and to be recognized on the AMEDD Civilian Corps Anniversary."

Crawford closed the celebration thanking civilians for being the backbone of the organization and their dedication to the force.

"Today we celebrate you," said Crawford during her remarks to those in attendance. "We recognize your hard work and dedication to MEDDAC-AK, our Soldiers and the Families we serve."