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Army secretary recognizes OAA teams for outstanding accomplishments


The outgoing U.S. Army Secretary Eric Fanning personally recognized three OAA teams during a small Pentagon ceremony Friday, Jan. 6, 2017, that have directly contributed to his and the overall Army mission.

Referring to the administrative assistant offices across DoD as the “unsung heroes” of the departments, he picked the Army OAA’s Civilian Aides to the Secretary of the Army program, the professionals from the U.S. Army Center for Military History, and the Political Transition Team as those who he greatly relied on during his Army secretarial tenue.


As the curators of the Army’s vast art and artifacts, the Pentagon CMH historians helped create an environment for the secretary that felt “more connected to the Army,” Fanning said.

Under his guidance, the CASA team took on the challenge to greatly improve the diversity and reach of the program to better reflect the Army. “I see a new batch (of CASA appointments) that will help tell the story to the Army and the citizenry,” he said.

As a leader who is experiencing his third political transition, he highlighted how extremely important and challenging it is to deliver a smooth transfer of power. He lauded the OAA political transition team, which has been working tirelessly to support the mission.

“Having to take something as big and complex as the Army … and have to translate that ... is no easy feat,” he said. “It’s amazing how seamless it’s been. And nowhere in the country is a seamless transition needed than in DoD,” he added.

After the secretary’s recognition, the Administrative Assistant to the Secretary of the Army, Gerald O’Keefe, echoed the sentiments.

“We have excellent individual and team performances recognized today,” said O’Keefe. “We also have tremendous efforts across the 70 to 80 other teams throughout OAA that contribute to the Army mission every day.”

The full list of individuals who received awards:

Center of Military History:

  • Dr. Michael Rouland (Senior Historian) – Superior Civilian Service Award
  • Mr. Mason Farr (Senior Historian) – Superior Civilian Service Award
  • Dr. James Kelly (Supervisory Curator) – Superior Civilian Service Award
  • Ms. Roxann Showers (Curator) – Achievement Medal for Civilian Service – not present
  • Mr. John A. Paschal (Curator) – Achievement Medal for Civilian Service – not present

Civilian Aides to the Secretary of the Army:

  • Ms. Angie Ritz – Superior Civilian Service Award
  • Ms. Deborah Gantt – Superior Civilian Service Award
  • Ms. Cheryl Arnold – Commander’s Award for Civilian Service
  • SFC Irving Cortes-Ortiz – Army Achievement Medal
  • Mr. Roger Combs – Secretary of the Army Coin
  • Mr. Kyle Kalman – Secretary of the Army Coin

Political Transition Team:

  • Ms. Deb Cusimano – Superior Civilian Service Award
  • Mr. Steve Wallace – Superior Civilian Service Award
  • MSG David Lewis – Army Commendation Medal
  • Mr. Joseph Newman – Achievement Medal for Civilian Service