USAMMDA Employees receive the Order of Military Medical Merit
An award ceremony was held at the Fort Detrick Auditorium to recognize distinguished individuals within the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command May 27.
USAMRMC and Fort Detrick Commander Maj. Gen. Brian Lein presided over the ceremony and presented the awards. Two U.S. Army Medical Materiel Development Activity employees received the Order of Military Medical Merit from Lein during the ceremony. Kathy Berst, USAMMDA deputy commander for acquisition, and Steve Hawbecker, project manager for the Medical Support Systems Project Management Office, received the awards for their contributions to Army Medicine.
The Order of Military Medical Merit is a prestigious award given to only a select few within the Army Medical Department. There is an extensive nomination process followed by selections made via a board of senior leadership to receive membership into the Order.
Lein described this "remarkable award" as one that is given to individuals possessing the highest dedication and commitment to military medicine.
Col. Stephen Dalal, commander of USAMMDA, nominated Berst and Hawbecker for their demonstrated exceptional service and an outstanding commitment to Army medicine.
"Without question, Ms. Berst has compiled an impressive portfolio of accomplishments as an Army acquisition civilian," said Dalal. "She has been a driving force behind high profile product development, which covers the spectrum of life-saving medical devices to drugs and vaccines. This nomination recognizes her accomplishments and continued exceptional service and commitment to the goals and objectives of the AMEDD."
As an Army civilian, Berst has aggressively pursued advanced vaccine program development efforts for plague, botulinum toxin, and filoviruses such as Ebola and Marburg, and when the White House requested the Biologics Manufacturing Analysis of Alternatives effort, she led the charge. Berst has represented the Army in the development of the Integrated National Biodefense Portfolio model and led an interagency team that conducted a comprehensive requirements refinement study that resulted in a $1.2 billion cost savings/cost avoidance for the DOD.
Berst has been a project manager for the Armed Forces Institute of Regenerative Medicine and managed the Joint Team that developed and evaluated recommendations to dramatically change the Defense Health Program Advanced Development efforts to implement acquisition, program management, and regulatory oversight to improve the timely fielding of required medical solutions for the $762M Advanced Development portfolio.
"Mr. Hawbecker is a valuable Department of the Army civilian who has developed and fielded many items that are used by the military to help improve Warfighter health," said Dalal. "His strategic leadership and drive for excellence will continue to yield great benefits to the objectives and goals of the AMEDD."
Hawbecker's career has been marked with great achievements. He coordinated and conducted complex research and developmental test projects for broad Army equipment categories to determine whether such materiel was qualified for production. He developed acquisition strategies and procurement methodologies to ease the clinical burden and expedite delivery of critical equipment assets. During his career Hawbecker has managed the entire life cycle of assigned products from requirements generation and design through fielding acceptance for non-developmental items in support of fixed and field medical treatment facilities worldwide.
In Iraq and Afghanistan, Hawbecker updated CT scanners and power conditioners used in combat hospitals and provided critical medical equipment upgrades for hospitals dental assemblages. He led a team that implemented the new patient litter load system for the MRAP MAXX Pro Plus Ambulance, and During Operation Enduring Freedom, Hawbecker managed and fielded over 75,000 Individual First Aid Kits Generation II.
During the ceremony, Berst and Hawbecker received medallions in recognition of their membership into the Order. They are both leading distinguished careers in Army Medicine and are now among the select few that make up the Order. Their membership is a tribute to all of their commendable contributions to military medicine.