Naval District Washington (NDW) recognized the actions of Washington Navy Yard personnel from the September 2013 attack at the base with an awards ceremony, July 2.
Thirty people were honored during the second in a series of ceremonies planned to highlight the response efforts by civilian, military and first responders in the aftermath of the initial attack.
Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus hosted the first ceremony June 23 to pay tribute to the victims as well as personnel directly involved in taking down the shooter and providing rescue efforts to the wounded.
Rear Adm. Mark Rich, NDW commandant, said that while September 16 has become a date synonymous with senseless violence and tragedy for many who were at the base, there are still some reassuring memories of that day to temper the painful ones.
“The memories that I’m talking about are the ones that bring me pride and amazement in the quality of people who responded that day to a situation no one could ever be truly prepared for,” Rich told the audience at the ceremony. “I saw selfless sacrifice, incredible empathy, and dedicated professionalism. Those virtues were on full display all over the base.”
Many of the individuals recognized helped organize response efforts after the initial attack occurred, whether by manning the Regional Operations Center, Emergency Operations Center, Emergency Family Assistance Center, or safely shepherding coworkers out of harm’s way. Others quickly organized a memorial service just days after the attack.
Rich said what separated people that day was where they happened to be and the role they played when given the opportunity to take action, and added that he was reassured by seeing those individuals act without hesitation or waiting to be led.
“I feel more secure after the events of last September because I know now, without a doubt, the quality and courage of our first responders, and the same goes for others,” Rich said. “Those and others like you are who we are here today to recognize.”
Awards presented included the Superior Civilian Service Medal with Valor, Meritorious Civilian Service Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, and Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal.
The Naval Support Activity Washington and Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling district of the NDW Fire and Emergency Services Department was also recently recognized by both the Navy and Department of Defense for winning the 2013 Firefighter Heroism Award for their actions during the attack last September. Rich said a formal ceremony to present the award is scheduled for later this summer.
For more photos from the ceremony, visit www.facebook.com/NavDistWash. To stay up to date with news and information from around NDW, visit www.NavDistWash.org.