Fort Detrick Civilian Receives Distinguished Civilian Service Award
The Department of Defense's highest honor for a civilian employee is the Distinguished Civilian Service Award. This award is given to civilians that have made significant contribution to the overall success of the DOD. The recipients exude the highest levels of integrity and dedication to the mission. Kathleen Berst, senior medical acquisition advisor for the U.S. Army Medical Materiel Development Activity, was presented the Distinguished Civilian Service Award at the 60th annual awards ceremony held at the Pentagon on Oct. 8.
The ceremony was officiated by The Honorable Robert Work, deputy secretary of defense. This year there were eight total award recipients from all branches of the DOD.
Work addressed the audience before the presentation of the awards. He began by inviting all of the family members of this year's award recipients to stand and be acknowledged. A boisterous round of applause broke out, as Work thanked all of the families for their support to the awardees.
Work went on to congratulate all of the award recipients, stating how "civilians are as important as those in uniform".
Work explained that civilians are absolutely critical for what we do, and he is extremely grateful to work with some of the greatest Americans of our Nation.
Berst was recognized for her analysis and recommendation for a cost avoidance of $1.2 billion.
"She shepherded the Department of the Army advanced development workforce through increased demands for improved medical technology capabilities and the expanded mission of the Defense Health Agency. Ms. Berst provided significant input and guidance to help ensure appropriate resourcing and oversight of the Defense Health Agency mission to support health care for all Service Members, inclusive of a $762 million advanced development portfolio for Fiscal Year 2016 through Fiscal Year 2020," taken from Berst's citation.
Berst was surprised and excited to have been selected for this award, and explained, "It was a great honor to get to meet the other award recipients at the ceremony and hear about their impressive achievements. It's humbling to see what they've done and to think that we are all a part of this large DOD enterprise, contributing in our own unique ways to keeping our Nation secure."
Col. William Geesey, commander of the USAMMDA, attended the awards ceremony to show his support for Berst.
"I'm proud to have exceptional employees such as Kathy at the USAMMDA," said Geesey. "This award recognizes Kathy's significant accomplishments as well as those of the entire USAMMDA team."
Fellow USAMMDA employees, along with present and past USAMMDA commanders, made the trip down to the Pentagon to show their support for Berst. Adorned with 'Keep Calm and Berst On' pins, Berst's family, friends and co-workers erupted in cheer for Berst as she accepted her award.
Berst described how this award acknowledges accomplishments associated with some challenging efforts.
"While I was going through those challenges, I didn't think they were award worthy; in fact, I was more worried that I was going to get fired for being the person to 'kill a Presidential initiative' - not really the way you want to be known in a new job," said Berst. "The award identifies me as an individual, but nothing in our world is accomplished by a single person. The outcomes highlighted in that award were accomplished because of a team of dedicated, motivated people."
U.S. Army Surgeon General Lt. Gen. Patricia Horoho extended her own congratulations to Berst through the entire Army Medical Department.
"She has been a driving force behind high profile product development which covers the spectrum of life-saving medical treatments," said Horoho. "She has helped the USAMMDA organization grow without disruption to product development as the new Defense Health Agency was established and placed additional responsibilities on the acquisition workforce."
Horoho congratulated Berst on her accomplishments, continued exceptional service and commitment to the goals and objectives of the Army Medical Department, the U.S. Army and the Department of Defense.