Governor McDonnell Congratulates Secretary of Public Safety Marla Graff Decker on National Award

Secretary Decker is 2013 Recipient of the National Guard Association of the United States’ Patrick Henry Award

 RICHMOND— Governor Bob McDonnell today congratulated Virginia Secretary of Public Safety Marla Graff Decker on receiving the National Guard Association of the United States’ (NGAUS) Patrick Henry Award earlier this week. The Patrick Henry Award is designed to provide recognition to civic leaders, who in a position of great responsibility distinguished themselves with outstanding and exceptional service to the Armed Forces of the United States, the National Guard or NGAUS.

Speaking about Secretary Decker’s recognition, Governor McDonnell said, “I have long been grateful to Secretary Decker for her exemplary leadership and her dedication to all aspects of public service, but, today, I am especially appreciative of her support for the Virginia National Guard. The Patrick Henry Award is a great honor, and I congratulate Secretary Decker on this well-deserved award. Virginians trust their Guard to answer the call of duty anytime challenges and situations arise, both here and abroad. The men and women of the Virginia Guard do that, with courage and selflessness. Under Secretary Decker’s leadership Virginia’s National Guard remains one of the best in the country, and Virginians’ confidence in their National Guard is well placed.”

Secretary Decker was nominated for the award for her selfless and dedicated service to the Virginia National Guard and was further recognized for the unwavering professionalism and steadfast support of the Virginia National Guard that resulted in increased resources and funding necessary to attain the goals set by the Governor and the Adjutant General of Virginia, and she enabled the Virginia Guard to sustain a ready, relevant, rapidly responding and top-performing force.

Earlier this year two Virginia National Guard battalions were recognized as the best in the nation by the National Guard Association and the Association of the United States Army. A Virginia Guard military police company earned the highest marksmanship scores in the nation. The Lynchburg-based 1st Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment was named the Walter T. Kerwin Readiness Award winner by AUSA, and the Virginia Beach-based 529th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion was named the Milton A. Reckord Award winner by NGAUS. The Virginia Beach-based 229th Military Police Company earned the national-level Pershing Award from NGAUS for marksmanship excellence for the highest marksmanship scores in annual qualification with assigned individual weapons.

Additionally, the Virginia National Guard’s Gate-City based 1032nd Transportation Company, 1030th Transportation Battalion, 329th Regional Support Group won the Department of the Army Philip A. Connelly Award For Excellence In Army Food Service in the Army National Guard Field Kitchen Category, according to an announcement made May 13, 2013, by the Department of the Army.

Since September 11, 2001, the Virginia National Guard has successfully mobilized more than 15,000 Soldiers and Airmen for missions in Iraq, Afghanistan, Bosnia, Kosovo and other locations across the world as well as homeland defense missions in the United States. Additionally, since 2001, more than 7,300 Virginia Guard personnel have responded to fires, floods, hurricanes, snow storms and other natural disasters assisting citizens of the Commonwealth as well other states in their time of need.

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