December 5, 2012
by Senior Master Sgt David Byro
Air Force Public Affairs Agency
WASHINGTON (AFNS) — The Department of Defense presented awards to two Air Force members during a ceremony here at the Pentagon, Dec. 4.
Capt. Ryan McGuire, a C-17 Globemaster III pilot with the 4th Airlift Squadron at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., and Christopher Randall, a civilian test director with the Air Force Operational Test and Evaluation Center at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., were recognized as Outstanding Department of Defense Employees and Service Members with Disabilities for 2012.
As part of National Disability Employment Awareness Month, the awards honor the accomplishments and abilities of employees and service members with disabilities who have made significant contributions to their components’ missions and best demonstrate the core values of their components.
McGuire, despite having a leg amputated following a boating accident in 2009, completed pilot training and has flown missions world-wide, including missions in support of Operation Endurign Freedom. He has also earned medals competing at various sporting events, to include running the Air Force Marathon in less than five hours.
Randall, having been medically retired from the Air Force following injuries sustained during combat operations in Operation Iraqi Freedom, went on to become an Air Force civilian leading a 21-man team that successfully managed the cost, schedule and performance of the remotely-piloted MQ-9 Reaper’s $2.9 million operational test program. He also manages a website helping veterans find contacts for services and benefits.
McGuire and Randall were the Air Force representatives of the 17 total recipients DOD-wide.
The Air Force was also recognized as the recipient of the Secretary of Defense Award for Achievements in Employment of Individuals with Disabilities in the Best Military Department category. Daniel Ginsberg, the Air Force assistant secretary for Manpower and Reserve Affairs, accepted the award on behalf of the Air Force.
“Diversity is essential and has been a key to the success of our armed forces and civilian workforce,” Frederick E. Vollrath, performing the duties of assistant secretary of defense for readiness and force management, said. “When we embrace a range of talent and perspective, our ability to defend our nation grows stronger.”
Kareem A. Dale, special assistant to the president for disability policy, was the keynote speaker and expanded upon this year’s National Disability Employment Awareness Month’s theme, “A Strong Workforce is an Inclusive Workforce: What Can YOU Do?”
DOD’s Director of Disability Programs Stephen King also spoke at the ceremony.
“The bottom line is America must employ the talents, skills, and capabilities of incredibly bright and productive citizens — both in and out of uniform — who want to serve our country,” King said. “People with disabilities often face unique challenges; we need that type of problem-solving ability and skill in the workplace.”