552 ACW Airman Among 2014 Defense Disability Award Winners

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The Department of the Air Force recently received the Secretary of Defense trophy for the best disability program among large military components for the third consecutive year.

The 34th Annual Department of Defense Disability awards ceremony was hosted by Jessica L. Wright, the under secretary of defense for personnel and readiness, who honored the service components for outstanding achievements in the hiring, retention and advancement of individuals with disabilities.

"While we face significant challenges from global threats, it is within our capacity to manage them by capitalizing on the talents, abilities and perspectives of our workforce," Wright said. "This ceremony is a tangible way of celebrating those important contributions."

The following DOD components received secretary of defense awards for their outstanding achievements in the employment of individuals with disabilities:

Best Military Department: Department of the Air Force
Best Mid-Sized Component: Defense Finance and Accounting Service
Best Small-Sized Component: Department of Defense Office of Inspector General
Best Intelligence Component: National Security Agency

The following Air Force civilian and military members with disabilities were among 20 DOD individuals who received secretary of defense awards for their outstanding contributions to national security:

Mr. Christopher J. Gitto, a technical information and quality control specialist with the Air Force Safety Center's analysis and integration division at Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico.

Ms. Kathi J. Duncan, a principle intelligence analyst with the Mission Assurance Flight, Space Analysis Squadron; Space, Missiles and Forces Intelligence Group, at the National Air and Space Intelligence Center, Wright Patterson AFB, Ohio.

Tech. Sgt. Chad A. Molenhour, an NCO in charge of deployments, readiness and logistics with the 552nd Air Control Wing, Air Combat Command, at Tinker AFB, Oklahoma.

"It is an honor to recognize the hard work and accomplishments of our Air Force employees and organizations who continue to meet operational requirements," said Lt. Gen. Sam Cox, the deputy chief of staff for manpower, personnel and services. "These actions demonstrate how well we recognize and employ the talent of people with disabilities."