Fourteen Department of Defense civilians became the first recipients of the Secretary of Defense Medal for the Global War on Terrorism during a Pentagon ceremony Feb. 26.

Among those honored was Carol King, Army Materiel Command supervisory program analyst, who deployed to Kuwait for 179 days to serve as deputy to the commander, 401st Army Field Support Brigade.

"It is truly an honor to be among the first to be recognized with this award, and a very humbling experience. I believe there are many other folks within AMC that should have received it first. Just being able to be there and do what I could to serve was enough reward for me. I'd go back tomorrow if I could," said King.

"We are asking more of our civilian employees in this war than in the past," said David S. C. Chu, undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness. "We are asking them to be part of an expeditionary force."

The medal, approved Aug. 7, recognizes the service and sacrifice of DoD civilian employees who have served in a combat zone in support of military operations since Sept. 11, 2001.

Since Sept. 11 more than 16,000 DoD civilians have qualified for the award, according to Patricia Bradshaw, the deputy undersecretary of defense for civilian personnel policy. Chu added of the 16,000, 118 have been injured and seven have given their lives.

"They have volunteered to help create a new vision for a workforce of civilian employees who are expeditionary and ready to serve at a moment's notice on the front line of supporting our troops," said Bradshaw.

"This is truly a counterinsurgency operation," Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England said before presenting the awards.

Operations against terrorism require the special skills civilians bring, England said. DoD civilians are working in provincial reconstruction teams, rebuilding Afghan and Iraqi infrastructure, building institutions, and helping run whole cities, he noted.

The medal is authorized to civilian employees who provide direct support to military operations in locations designated a combat zone for 30 consecutive days; 60 non-consecutive days; or were killed or medically evacuated, regardless of time.

Other award recipients were:

* Beverly Hall, Defense Language Institute English instructor
* Natalie Sudman, Army Corps of Engineers project manager
* Celeste L. Ward, a deputy assistant secretary of defense
* Scott R. Adams, Marine Corps Systems Command liaison officer
* Marion Andrews Jr., Defense Threat Reduction Agency chief for assessment support
* John A. Carper III, Defense Department Inspector General criminal investigator
* Aleck K. Holcomb, Defense Information Systems Agency telecommunications
* Ronald C. Meldonian, Defense Contract Audit Agency auditor
* David J. Munger, Defense Information Systems Agency electronics engineer
* Gilbert R. Reed III, Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Navy financial management analyst
* James Rogner, Defense Security Service security specialist
* Fred A. Runnels, Defense Finance and Accounting Service director for standards and compliance
* Larry Spalding, Defense Logistics Agency distribution facilities specialist