DynCorp International hosted the families of 17 employees who were killed while serving U.S. government missions abroad as they received the Department of Defense’s Defense of Freedom medal, posthumously recognizing the contributions their loved ones made for their country. The honorees were killed while working on U.S. Department of State police training missions in Iraq and Afghanistan between 2004 and 2011. The award recipients’ families, representatives from the Department of State and Department of Defense, along with nearly 200 DI personnel were in attendance at the ceremony held February 11, 2013, in the Washington, D.C. area.
Speaking on behalf of the Department of Defense was Lieutenant General William N. Phillips, and from the Department of State were Ambassador Patrick Kennedy and Ambassador William R. Brownfield.
“There about 17,000 DynCorp personnel serving in a combat theater today. They are serving alongside our warfighters and protecting our freedom. Bottom line – contractor personnel and all they do remains vital to our nation. We depend on them, we rely on them, and they are extraordinary for their execution of the mission,” Phillips said.
During his remarks, Ambassador Brownfield announced that, later this year, the Department of State will unveil a new memorial at the U.S. Department of State to honor civilian personnel, including contractors who have lost their lives serving on police training missions abroad.
“On the thirteenth of May this year, with the support, assistance and my personal gratitude to Under Secretary Kennedy, I hope we will unveil and dedicate a memorial to all those civilian police personnel who have given their lives up in overseas operations,” said Brownfield.
Steve Gaffney, chairman and CEO of DynCorp International, placed a special emphasis on the family members who were in attendance, “Each of the 17 individuals who we honor tonight had a profound and lasting impact – not just on our company but on our country – and we often talk about their bravery and strength. But I also want to highlight the bravery and strength of those family members who are here tonight, and who continue to share the stories of their loved ones.”
The Defense of Freedom Medal, the civilian equivalent of the military’s Purple Heart, was presented to the families of the following DI personnel: Roland Carroll Barvels of Aberdeen, S.D.; Brett Patrick Benton of Dry Ridge, Ky.; Brian Morgan Brian of Camden, Ark.; Michael Wayne Butler of Rembert, S.C.; Mike Dawes of Stilwell, Okla.; Arsenio Ducusin Domingo of Wadmalaw Island, S.C.; Richard Thomas Hickman of Cave Springs, Ga.; Leon Vincent Kimbrell of Boiling Springs, S.C.; Deborah Dawn Klecker of Redman, Ore.; Rudy Guerrero Mesa of Maxwell, Texas; William Lawrence Juneau of Orange County, Calif.; Douglas Stephen Thomas of Lexington, S.C., Robert McDonald Timmann of Tallahassee, Fla.; Donald Bruce Tow of Lake Havasu, Ariz.; Darrell Leroy Wetherbee of Raymond, Maine; Gary Wayne Willard of Resaca, Ga.; and Ronald Austin Zimmerman of Glenwood, Ind.