FORT STEWART, Ga. - Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield's Staff Judge Advocate office was presented the American Bar Association's award for excellence in Legal Assistance for Military Personnel during a ceremony held at the Fort Stewart courtroom, July 26. The LAMP award was presented to Lt. Col. Shane Bartee, deputy SJA for Stewart-Hunter, by Brig. Gen. Gill Beck, commander of the U.S. Army Reserve Legal Command.
The LAMP Distinguished Service Award "recognizes exceptional achievements or exceptional service to or in support of the military legal assistance effort," according to the ABA Web site, www.abanet.org. The group awards recognize superior legal assistance programs worthy of emulation; major legal assistance innovations; outstanding efforts to maintain quality legal assistance service with limited resources; or exceptional service to or support of the military legal assistance effort.
According to Brig. Gen. Beck, who has served as an assistant U.S. attorney for the middle district of North Carolina since 1982, Stewart-Hunter was one of two Army installations to be honored by the ABA in 2010. Fort Benning was also recognized for its legal services to Soldiers and their Families.
"Taking care of Soldiers has never been more important," Brig. Gen. Beck said, explaining how much the Army has changed since the war in Vietnam, which he said nearly broke the Army. "We're a much better Army today because of the people in this room. We're better able to defend this country and better able to answer the call of duty. This particular award recognizes the key role (Staff Judge Advocate offices) play in taking care of Soldiers and Families at a time when our nation needs us."
Brigadier General Beck, a graduate of Appalachian State University and Duke Law School, thanked the Stewart-Hunter attorneys, paralegals and court reporters for the important work they do in Claims, Administrative Law, Criminal Law, Legal Assistance and Trial Defense. He and Lt. Col. Bartee focused their discussion on two branches of Stewart-Hunter's SJA office, which they said Soldiers and the Families were most familiar, Claims and Legal Assistance.
In addition to Stewart-Hunter's SJA staff members, Liberty County Probate Judge Nancy Aspinwal and attorneys with Arnold, Stafford and Randolph attended the ceremony. Following Brig. Gen. Beck's presentation of the award to Lt. Col. Bartee, he posed with members of the Stewart-Hunter SJA team then with Judge Aspinwal and attorneys, Geoffrey V. Carson and Andrew S. Johnson.
Promoted to brigadier general in December 2008, his previous military assignments include Staff Judge Advocate for Task Force 134 as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom and tours with the 1st Infantry Division, 3rd Armored Division and 82nd Airborne Division. Brigadier General Beck is currently assigned as commander of a new unit, the U.S. Army Reserve Legal Command, located in Gaithersburg, Md.
Sergeant Major Claudia Turner, who coordinated and supervised the award ceremony, will join Brig. Gen. Beck as the first command sergeant major for the U.S. Army Reserve Legal Command as well as the first female command sergeant for U.S. Army Judge Advocate General's Corps. She is a Reserve paralegal specialist currently serving with the 3rd Infantry Division SJA. Although Brig. Gen. Beck joked that he was still negotiating for an early arrival for his command sergeant major, Sgt. Maj. Turner said she expects to report to her new duty station in September.