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Patriotic Article
By Navy Lt. J.G. Laura Stegherr

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Exemplary Women Honored with Leadership Award
(June 7, 2010)

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WASHINGTON (June 3, 2010 - NNS) -- Three Navy service members were awarded the Joy Bright Hancock (JBH) Leadership Award June 2 during the 23rd annual Sea Service Leadership Association (SSLA) Women's Leadership Symposium in Washington, D.C.

The awards, sponsored by SSLA and the Military Officers Association of America, are presented annually to three Navy and three Marine Corps service members. Awards are presented to one senior officer ranking O-4 and above, one junior officer ranking O-3 and below, and one senior enlisted member ranking E-7 through E-9 from each service.

"The [symposium] theme today is 'Leading From the Front and Into the Future,' and this is incredibly appropriate," said Maj. Gen. Angela Salinas, director of the Marine Corps' Manpower Management Division and keynote speaker. "Today you are recognizing six women, officer and enlisted, for their achievements, their contributions to each of their services. As you recognize the very best of the best, we all know that we are barely touching the very tip of the talent of the women who serve in our military today."

Established in 1987, the awards honor the legacy of Capt. Joy Bright Hancock, a veteran of both the first and second world wars and one of the first female officers of the Navy.

Recipients are honored for their leadership both on and off duty and their perseverance to overcome challenges.

While the traits of leadership and persistence were common in all the JBH winners, each recipient's award reflected unique personal experiences and diverse career paths.

Cmdr. Thurraya Kent, executive officer of Navy Public Affairs Support Element East, was recognized for her service as senior public affairs officer afloat during Operation Unified Response. Additionally, her work with her U.S. senator directly resulted in a change to the National Defense Authorization Act, permitting paid leave for service members adopting a child.

Lt. Cassidi Reese was honored for her performance as line division officer in Strike Fighter Squadron 154 and her positive command culture. Reese was also selected simultaneously to the Navy Strike Fighter Weapons School and the Navy Test Pilot School, a nearly unprecedented occurrence.

Master Chief Utilities Constructionman (SCW) Jamye Rainwater received accolades for her leadership as senior enlisted leader in Naval Construction Training Center (NCTC) Port Hueneme and Bravo Company, Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 40. Under her leadership, the advancement rate at NCTC Port Hueneme improved from nine percent to 50 percent while attrition reached an all-time low.

Rainwater, whose Navy career spans 24 years of service and several humanitarian operations and disaster relief efforts, reflected on the importance of the award to her professional and personal life.

"I think it's the pinnacle of my career to be able to represent Sailors and Seabees from the naval construction force, given the company that I'm in and the folks that were nominated," said Rainwater. "These are fantastic women that have fantastic careers. It's an honor to be representing them."

Established in 1978, SSLA is the only non-profit organization in the United States dedicated to providing professional development through networking, education, and mentorship of women from all three maritime armed forces. This year's SSLA Women's Leadership Symposium attracted a record attendance, drawing more than one thousand participants from across the Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard.

By Navy Lt. J.G. Laura Stegherr
Diversity Directorate Public Affairs
Copyright 2010

Reprinted from Navy News Service

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