Three Army Civilian inspectors general were presented awards April 14 as Civilians of the Year in their respective category by the U.S. Army Inspector General Agency (USAIGA).
All three were honored by Lt. Gen. Leslie C. Smith, the 66th Inspector General, during the virtual World Wide Inspector General Conference (WWIGC) held via teleconference April 14.
Lt. Gen. Smith referring to the need to hold a virtual conference because of the Coronavirus pandemic, said, “We didn’t want to wait another year to recognize them. I know this wasn’t the way we planned to do this, but your accomplishments need to be honored now.”
The winners are Heidi Savre, Category 1 (GS-9 to GS-11); John Buss, Category 2 (GS-12 and GS-13); and Richard Juergens, Category 3 (GS-14 and GS-15).
Donna Wood, the chief Inspector General personnel proponent with USAIGA, said the program, in its second year, attracted 15 nomination packets.
“Selection denotes these folks as truly ‘the exemplary Army IG’ who are making a significant difference not only in their daily duties but to the Army by greatly improving readiness” Wood said.
Savre, assigned to the inspector general office with Joint Force Headquarters, Minnesota Army National Guard (MNARNG), also holds dual status as a sergeant first class in the Guard. She’s been an MNARNG Soldier for 17 years and deployed to Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom in 2009-2010.
Savre’s supervisor, Col. Daniel Heape, the State Inspector General for Minnesota, said, “Ms. Savre flawlessly took on 75% of the Joint Force Headquarters IG office workload after the departure of the Deputy Inspector General and Detailed Inspector General.”
Heape said Savre’s efforts sustained the IG office, and she took the lead in training new IG personnel and supported the state Adjutant General’s priorities, as well as conducting numerous inspections and calls for assistance.
Buss earned his recognition as a detailed inspector general with U.S. Army Forces Command (FORSCOM) at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. He is a retired colonel with 30 years of military service, including 10 years with the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne).
Col. Patrick Wempe, the FORSCOM Command IG, noted Buss’s achievements, particularly in the arena of whistleblower investigations and training other IGs throughout the command. Wempe wrote, “Mr. Buss is the most diversely skilled employee within FORSCOM IG. He is widely known for his expertise and judgement in all IG areas.”
He is now the chief of the Assistance and Investigations Division with the Office of the Inspector General at the U.S. Army Special Operations Command.
Juergens, the deputy inspector general at FORSCOM, is also a retired colonel with nearly 30 years of military service. A former helicopter pilot, Juergens retired from active duty in 2014 after serving as the command inspector general of FORSCOM, before accepting his current position as a civilian.
Wempe, also Juergens’s supervisor, praised his leadership in the absence of an assigned command inspector general for a year. “Mr. Juergens personally led the FORSCOM IG team in conducting the most complex, in-depth multi-component inspection in a decade,” Wempe said.
“Without his contributions over the past year, during the absence of an assigned Colonel and during a period of 75% turnover of military personnel, the IG team simply could not have accomplished their mission,” Wempe said.