For the first time, three Wisconsin businesses are among the recipients of the 2021 Department of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award. The following is a news release from the DoD detailing honors for Associated Bank in Green Bay; INNIO Waukesha Gas Engines in Waukesha; and the Village of Pewaukee Police Department.
WASHINGTON – The Department of Defense is pleased to announce the 15 recipients of the 2021 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award, the highest U.S. government honor to employers for support of National Guard and Reserve employees.
The recipients include small and large private and public sector employers nominated by a National Guard or Reserve Component employee employed in their organization. Celebrating its 25th year, the Freedom Award began in 1996 under the auspices of Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve to recognize exceptional employer support, with 310 honorees to date.
“I am proud to salute the outstanding employers who have earned the distinction of being named Freedom Award recipients as we mark the 25th year of this highly coveted recognition,” said Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III. “The men and women of the National Guard and Reserve make significant contributions to our communities and our national security through their civilian and military careers. We owe a debt of gratitude to these exemplary employers, who by valuing and supporting their employees’ military service, enhance the strength, readiness, and diversity of our National Guard and Reserve forces.”
ESGR received 3,382 nominations for this prestigious award for employers throughout the 50 states, Guam-CNMI, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands and District of Columbia. The recipients distinguished themselves by going far beyond the requirements of the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act, or USERRA, to support their National Guard and Reserve employees. Many offered enhanced pay and benefit packages; flexible scheduling and generous leave policies; and pre- and post- deployment support. In addition, they implemented robust training to equip human resource professionals and managers to support their organization’s military serving employees; stayed connected to deployed employees by sending care packages; and took care of their employees’ families during deployments by assisting with household repairs, including them in company functions, or providing financial assistance.
The 2021 Freedom Award recipients will be recognized in local ceremonies by Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve State Chairs.
The 2021 SecDef Employer Support Freedom Award Recipients
Green Bay, Wisconsin
Army Reserve, Wisconsin
Boyer Commercial Construction, Inc.
Columbia, South Carolina
Marine Corps Reserve, South Carolina
Cameron Glass, Inc.
Broken Arrow, Oklahoma
Army National Guard, Oklahoma
Grand Strand Medical Center – HCA Healthcare
Army Reserve, Florida
INNIO Waukesha Gas Engines
Coast Guard Reserve, Wisconsin
J.B. Hunt Transport, Inc.
Air National Guard, Arkansas
Army National Guard, Arkansas
Loftin Equipment Company
Air National Guard, Arizona
Army National Guard, Minnesota
Army Reserve, Minnesota
Nogales Police Department
Army National Guard, Arizona
Coast Guard Reserve, Texas
Newark, New Jersey
Army Reserve, New Jersey
Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service
College Station, Texas
Army National Guard, Texas
Village of Pewaukee Police Department
Army National Guard, Wisconsin
Yankton School District
Yankton, South Dakota
Army National Guard, South Dakota
For more information about the Freedom Award, visit www.FreedomAward.mil. To learn more about ESGR, a program of the Defense Personnel and Family Support Office, visit www.ESGR.mil.
ESGR is a Department of Defense program that develops and promotes supportive work environments for Service members in the Reserve Components through outreach, recognition, and educational opportunities that increase awareness of applicable laws. It also provides assistance in resolving conflicts between Service members and their employers.
On behalf of the Milwaukee Armed Services Committee (MASC), we are grateful to the Milwaukee-area media outlets that covered our events during Milwaukee Armed Forces Week, May 10-15, 2021. Our sincere thanks to CBS 58 News, CBS 58 Sunday Morning and Spectrum News 1 for providing tremendous stories on our award winners. Please take a moment to view the following links.
Christopher D. Kolenda, Ph.D., founder of the Kolenda Strategic Leaders Academy and U.S. Army Colonel (Ret.), works with small business owners and nonprofit leaders who want to build great teams that drive the business to new heights.
Chris will speak at a virtual event of the Rotary Club of Milwaukee on Tuesday, May 11 at noon. He will discuss the vital lessons of the Afghanistan war and the implications of the U.S. troop withdrawal on American national security.
Chris's battlefield leadership has been featured in several books, including Jake Tapper's bestseller, The Outpost. He is the first American to have fought the Taliban as a commander in combat and engaged them in peace talks.
Chris is the author of three books, Leadership: The Warrior's Art; The Counterinsurgency Challenge; and Zero-Sum Victory: What We're Getting Wrong about War (coming in October 2021). He enjoys daily walks along Lake Michigan with his wife, Nicole, and Daisy, their German Shepherd. His 2022 goal is a cross-country bike ride to visit the gravesites of his six fallen soldiers and raise funds for a leadership endowment.
For additional reading about Christopher Kolenda, visit the following links:
- Taliban talks: The Daily Beast, https://bit.ly/3vnWjqY
- NPR interview on President Biden's decision to withdraw troops in Afghanistan, https://n.pr/3dZ4KTJ
- FOX 6 News, https://bit.ly/3ntlAgy
MILWAUKEE – Milwaukee Armed Forces Week (MAFW), one of the largest U.S. community celebrations of the military each May, announces that events slated for May 10 – 15, 2021, will be in person or virtual, with some activities cancelled or postponed until the fall.
“This year, as we continue to work our way through the pandemic, we look ahead following a time of incredible challenges and despair,” says Tom Plantenberg, president of Milwaukee Armed Services Committee (MASC). “Restrictions remain in place for several of our indoor and outdoor events, the use of military equipment and the involvement of military personnel, so the consensus is that we alter our activities this year.”
As of now, the following MAFW events are as planned:
The 2021 theme for Milwaukee Armed Forces Week reflects on moving “Forward with Healing.” The image of a lotus flower on this year’s coin illustrates the refusal to accept defeat. It represents the ability to come from a place of darkness and suffering on through to a place of light. Just as a lotus blossom emerges from muddy waters and unfolds in breathtaking beauty, people can rise up from adversity with universal accord.
“As a society, we are fractured,” adds Plantenberg. “There’s a deep longing to rescue and renew all persons through healing – both mentally and physically – and restore the dignity and respect necessary to bring everyone together.”
More details on Milwaukee Armed Forces Week events will be confirmed in the coming weeks. Look for updates on our website, www.milwaukeearmedforcesweek.org and on our Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn pages.
About Milwaukee Armed Forces Week
The 2021 Milwaukee Armed Forces Week, scheduled for Monday, May 10 - Saturday, May 15, is a joint effort of the Milwaukee Armed Services Committee, comprised of members of the United States Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard and National Guard, as well as Milwaukee-area citizens and veterans. Its mission is to increase public understanding of the role of the military in a democratic society as well as honor and acknowledge the Milwaukee area people serving in the Armed Forces of the United States.
For more information, please visit www.milwaukeearmedforcesweek.org and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
LIEUTENANT COLONEL TIMOTHY R. GUY
Lieutenant Colonel Timothy R. Guy is the Logistics Readiness Squadron Commander, 128th Air Refueling Wing, General Mitchell Field, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He is responsible for the overall management and operation of the Logistics Readiness Squadron to
include Distribution Management, Material Management, and Contingency Operations, as well as War Reserve Material petroleum requirements. He also serves as Assistant United States Property and Fiscal Officer, Property Air, and ensures compliance with all applicable laws, regulations, policies and procedures for property accounting. Lt Col Guy attended the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and received his commission through ROTC in May 2004. He has previously served as the Deputy Commander, 379th Expeditionary Maintenance Group, 379th Air Expeditionary Wing, Qatar Air Base, Deputy Commander 128th Maintenance Group, student at the Advanced Study of Air Mobility, through the Air Force Institute of Technology at the United States Expeditionary Center,
Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey, Integration Branch Chief at the Air National Guard Readiness Center, Andrews AFB, Maryland, Commander of the 128th Maintenance Squadron, Milwaukee, Wisconsin and the Director of Cyber Operations, Wisconsin Joint Force Headquarters, Madison, Wisconsin. Prior to his current position, Lt Col Guy was the Headquarters Chief of Staff, 128th Air Refueling Wing, General Mitchell Field, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
2004 Bachelor of Business Administration, Computer End-User Technologies, UW-Whitewater, Wis.
2005 Aerospace Basic Course, Maxwell AFB, Ala.
2008 Masters of Business Administration, Management, UW-Whitewater, Wis.
2009 Squadron Officer School, Maxwell AFB, Ala.
2013 Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell AFB, Ala.
2016 Advanced Study of Air Mobility, USAF Expeditionary Center, JBMDL, N.J.
2016 Master of Science, Logistics, Air Force Institute of Technology, Wright Patterson AFB, Ohio
2018 Air War College, Maxwell AFB, Ala.
1. July 2004-February 2006, Project Engineer, 738 Engineering Installation Squadron, Keesler AFB Miss.
2. February 2006-July 2007, Officer In Charge Cable/Antenna Installation, 85 Engineering Installation Squadron, Keesler AFB, Miss.
3. July 2007-December 2009, Communications and Information Officer, 210 Engineering Installation Squadron, Minneapolis, Minn.
4. December 2009-December 2010, Communications Officer, Wisconsin Joint Force Headquarters, Madison, Wis.
5. December 2010-April 2012, Director of Cyber Operations, Wisconsin Joint Force Headquarters, Madison, Wis.
6. April 2012-August 2013, Commander, 128 Maintenance Squadron, Milwaukee, Wis.
7. August 2013-June 2014, Operational Execution Working Group Action Officer, Air National Guard Readiness Center, Andrews AFB, Md.
8. June 2014-May 2015, Integration Branch Chief, Air National Guard Readiness Center, Andrews AFB, Md.
9. May 2015-June2016, Student, Advanced Study of Air Mobility, UASF Expeditionary Center, Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J.
10. June 2016-July 2017, Deputy Commander, 128 Maintenance Group, Milwaukee, Wis.
11. July 2017-January 2018, Headquarters Chief of Staff, 128 Air Refueling Wing, Milwaukee, Wis.
12. January 2018-July 2018, Deputy Commander, 379 Maintenance Group, Al Udied AB, Qatar.
13, July 2018-September 2020, Headquarters Chief of Staff, 128 Air Refueling Wing, Milwaukee, Wis.
14. September 2020-Present, Commander 128 Logistics Readiness Squadron, Milwaukee Wis.
MAJOR AWARDS AND DECORATIONS
Meritorious Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters
Air Force Commendation Medal with two oak leaf clusters
Air Force Achievement Medal
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with six oak leaf clusters
Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
Humanitarian Service Medal
Nuclear Deterrence Operations Service Medal with 'N' Device and oak leaf cluster
Air Force Expeditionary Service Ribbon with Gold Border
EFFECTIVE DATES OF PROMOTION
Second Lieutenant June 15, 2004
First Lieutenant June 15, 2006
Captain October 1, 2008
Major November 29, 2012
Lieutenant Colonel December 1, 2016
Congratulations to Navy Hospital Corpsman, 2nd Class Benjamin Lamberty, Marine Lance Corporal Brett C. Hanley, Army Staff Sergeant Kevin Paske, and Coast Guard Reserve Petty Officer 1st Class Casey Miller on their receiving the Richard I. Bong Award for 2020. They are among the individuals within the greater Milwaukee area honored for demonstrating outstanding traits of leadership and professionalism through their contributions to their military unit and to the community.
Navy Hospital Corpsman, 2nd Class Benjamin Lamberty. He serves as Fox Company's Senior Corpsman. As such he provides medical coverage support for more than 150 Marines during training, and ensures the unit's overall health and medical readiness. Additionally he is responsible for the development of four junior Corpsman.
As the RESPAY Liaison and EDM Approver, Lamberty was responsible for ensuring junior Sailors were appropriately scheduled for Fox Company drill weekend and their pay was properly adjudicated following drill. He proactively tracked the NROWS completing for AT orders, which ensured Fox Company had adequate medical support during field training at Ft. McCoy, Wisconsin.
Marine Lance Corporal Brett C. Hanley - His entire time-in-service has been served with Company F, 2d Battalion, 24th Marines, 23d Marine Regiment, 4th Marine Division, Marine Forces Reserve, Milwaukee, WI. Throughout his time with Company F, LCpl Hanley has volunteered to perform at least ten color guard details and static weapons displays, conducted approximately thirty military funeral honors details, and dedicated countless hours assisting the Inspector-Instructor staff in its day-to-day operations.
In addition to serving as a Team Leader and Gunner within the company’s Assault Section, LCpl Hanley is a fully-trained officer candidate--making him the only enlisted Marine within the company to apply for, get selected, and graduate from Officer Candidate School (OCS) in Quantico, VA. With the knowledge and experience gained at OCS, he leads his assault team with tenacity and vigor when put in stressful
situations and does not give up. He has volunteered in support of the annual Toys-for-Tots campaign for three consecutive years; serving thousands of children throughout Milwaukee and Waukesha County.
SSG Kevin S. Paske is a civilian soldier and multi-time combat deployer. He has served in three different combat zones. While serving as the launcher chief in Syria, Paske led his crew away from their remote outpost into further hostile territory during a strategic level operation. While forward deployed, he and his crew fired numerous precision-guided rocket artillery missions in order to deter pro-Assad forces from attacking nearby friendly bases.
In early April 2020, he was ordered into active duty by Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers to assist local polling stations and their election processes. According an unsolicited Letter of Appreciation sent from Mayor Martin T. Becker of the City of Port Washington on 4/10/2020, “the moment of his (SSG Paske’s) arrival at Port Washington City Hall, it was evident his level of professionalism, dedication, intelligence and commitment to his assignment. He served side by side with staff for two very long days, without wavering in his duties.” The appreciation from his local community only confirms what many already know, that Kevin Paske is a heroic American and patriot worthy of recognition.
Coast Guard Reserve Petty Officer 1st Class Casey Miller, pictured here with Captain Donald Montoro, Commander of Coast Guard Station Lake Michigan. Miller is a machine technician with the CGR.
Miller is a mentor and role model to his Junior Coast Guard members and has been recognized by his command for his role in keeping the operational tempo at peak level during the busiest boating season on the Great Lakes. He has integrated with both Active Duty and Reserve members for sustained operational support. His community involvement is outstanding. Miller coached Wrestling from 1998-2015. During that time, he started a volunteer kids club for wrestling that took place after hours to give them a chance to improve their skills while giving them mentoring skills for life. He served as the president of the Burlington Regional Coach's Association, promoting sportsmanship and positive conduct throughout the sport. He's also promoted the S.T.E.M. program to local high schools, giving examples of real-world innovation in use with the engineering field.
Milwaukee Armed Forces Week is proud to honor the following for 2020.
Major Marcus Carlstrom, USMC, Inspector Instructor, Fox Company – (left in uniform) recipient of the 2020 Gary Wetzel Active Service Award, and Capt. Matthew Johnson, USMC, Marine Officer Instructor, (right in uniform), Marquette University, accepting the 2020 Gary Wetzel Active Service Award for Gunnery Sgt. Zachary E. Gay, USMC.
Dr. Tom Buck, (far left), Civilian Chair, Milwaukee Armed Services Committee, and Capt. Tom Plantenberg, (far right), USN (Retired), President of the Milwaukee Armed Services Committee, presented the honors in late May.
The award is named after Gary Wetzel, who was a Private First Class serving as a door gunner in the 173rd Assault Helicopter Company when his helicopter was shot down and the survivors, including Wetzel, came under heavy enemy fire. Despite devastating injuries, Wetzel remained at his position until he had eliminated the threat thereby protecting and saving the lives of his crew and others. Wetzel survived his wounds, although his left arm had to be amputated. He was subsequently promoted to Specialist Four and awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions. This award is presented Monday night at the Armed Forces Week Banquet to members of one of our armed services who have served with valor while currently on active duty. The award may also be give to a person who has been retired for two or fewer years. One posthumous award has been given.
From left to right: Sgt. Cody Wallace, USMC, Sheboygan, Wisconsin
First Sgt. Jorge Cedeno-Tulloch, USMC, Long Island, New York
Dr. Thomas M. Buck, Civilian Chair, Milwaukee Armed Services Committee
Major Marcus Carlstrom, USMC, Inspector Instructor, Fox Company – RECIPIENT OF THE 2020 GARY WETZEL ACTIVE SERVICE AWARD
Capt. Thomas M. Plantenberg, USN (Retired), President of the Milwaukee Armed Services Committee
Capt. Matthew Johnson, USMC, Marine Officer Instructor, Marquette University
Here is this year's message from the Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps,
During his tenure as President, Harry S. Truman spearheaded an initiative to set aside one day for all Americans to show appreciation for the service and sacrifices of all who have served in our Nation's Armed Forces. On 31 August 1949, Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson fulfilled President Truman's vision by creating Armed Forces Day, a holiday that we now observe on the third Saturday in May each year.
The men and women of our military voluntarily give themselves over to a larger cause, to a greater purpose. Each of us in uniform took an oath to defend our Nation, its principles, and its residents against all who would do it harm - even if it means our own lives are lost in that defense.
Armed Forces Day affords us an opportunity to pause each year and pay tribute to those who put on the uniform of our country, who have borne many a hardship in the service of others, and who gladly defend the American way of life. As each of you pause on Saturday, 16 May, recognize your fellow service member with heartfelt gratitude, camaraderie, and respect. I thank every member of the United States Armed Forces for your professionalism, dedication, and sacrifice.
David H. Berger
U.S. Marine Corps
Commandant of the Marine Corps
During Milwaukee Armed Forces Week May 11-16, 2020, we support our currently serving military.
Today, we honor U.S. Air Force Colonel Andrew T Wahl, 128th Operations Group Commander, 128th Air Refueling Wing, Wisconsin Air National Guard, Milwaukee.
What has been your experience in recent weeks as a member of the military during COVID19?
“Serving in these unprecedented times has only strengthened my commitment to serve and command in the Wisconsin Air National Guard, 128th Air Refueling Wing in Milwaukee. While I never thought about having to serve and perform my duties during a world-wide pandemic, I am proud of my unit and teammates who are serving their communities in State Active Duty status with election day and COVID-19 testing collection support. At the same time, we are continuing to meet our federal mission requirements all over the world.
"This period of time reminds me that I follow in the footsteps of those who served honorably before me, ensuring our freedoms today. I’m sure my grandfather, who fought on the Aleutian Islands and in Europe during World War II, had similar thoughts as I do today: Am I ready to meet this challenge? How long will this fight take? Will my family be okay? As I remember the stories he would tell me, especially how he would lay metal sections on the frozen ground to create a runway in the middle of nowhere, I am reminded that there is no real training that prepares a person to meet times like today. Instead, you rely on the training that you received and those who serve with you to overcome adversity and the unknown. It is that dedication to your fellow Airman, Soldier, Sailor, or Marine that makes serving in the military such a great opportunity for the next generation of young men and women."
Why do you serve and what does it mean to be a member of the U.S. Armed Forces?
"I believe that leadership starts with acknowledging our love and duty to God followed closely by love and duty to our family and country. Integrity will be born from this love and duty. This kind of integrity must be our starting point.
"My thoughts, efforts, and actions will focus on treating others as I would want to be treated. I will listen attentively, seeking understanding, and leverage the experience and talents of others fully. This will help guide our path toward service before self.
"I will always strive to do my best in all that I do and I expect others to do the same. I believe excellence in all we do is having the peace of mind attained only through self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to do the best of which you are capable.
"To my fellow countrymen – it is a pleasure to serve you."
Thank you, Colonel Wahl, for your dedication and service in our U.S. Armed Forces.