WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--For his support of America’s Reserve Components, the Reserve Officers Association of the United States will recognize former Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel with its prestigious Minuteman Hall of Fame award at the ROA annual convention on July 27 at the Marriott Wardman Park hotel in Washington, DC.
“I am grateful to The Reserve Officers Association for this special recognition,” Hagel said. “To receive this recognition from one of America's most respected service organizations is a high honor.”
The Minuteman Hall of Fame is presented to a citizen or service member who has conspicuously contributed to the advancement of ROA programs and objectives. Among ROA’s highest tributes, it is normally given to a serving or former military officer or federal official. Since ROA has opened membership to noncommissioned officers, the award may be presented to a serving or former NCO, as well.
Previous Minuteman Hall of Fame recipients include Presidents Truman and Kennedy, Senator Barry Goldwater, Gen. Creighton Abrams, and Bob Hope.
Secretary Hagel, a former U.S. Senator, is the only Vietnam veteran and the first enlisted combat veteran to serve as Secretary of Defense. He earned recognition with his support of the Reserve Components of America’s uniformed services during his tenure in the Pentagon.
“Secretary Hagel made a difference,” said ROA’s executive director, Jeff Phillips. “He set the example with an open and inclusive approach to veteran and military organizations; he met with us, listened to us, and sought to understand our priorities. His directives enabling access to military facilities for the purposes of supporting servicemembers are making a difference.”
ROA is also honored to present Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (Reserve Affairs) Richard O. Wightman, Jr., its Twice the Citizen award. The award is presented to a citizen or service member who substantially contributed to the advancement of ROA programs and objectives in support of the nation’s Reserve Components.
Mr. Wightman, who retires from federal service in August, is a retired USAR major general who originally enlisted in the infantry and over the course of 41 years served in all three Army components. As a DoD senior executive, he served from May 2012 to the present as principal advisor to the Secretary of Defense with responsibility for policy, oversight and supervision of the seven Reserve Components and the 1.1 million service members assigned to the Guard and Reserve. During his tenure, Mr. Wightman has served as Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense (Reserve Affairs). He earned Twice the Citizen recognition with his support of the Reserve Components during his tenure in the Pentagon.
“Rich Wightman is the personification of patriot,” said Jeff Phillips, himself an Army Reservist. “He has dedicated himself to serving his nation and supporting those who wear the nation’s uniform. We are proud to recognize the gift of service that is his life.”
The ROA annual convention attracts members from the U.S. Army Reserve, National Guard, U.S. Air Force Reserve, U.S. Navy Reserve, U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, U.S. Coast Guard Reserve, U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Commissioned Corps.
America’s Reserve Components are more than 1 million service members strong (nearly 50 percent of the U.S. military). Since the attacks of 9/11, more than 870,000 Reservists have been called to active duty; 330,000 more than once.
For more than 90 years, the Reserve Officers Association has been the only organization dedicated to supporting Reservists and their critical role in national defense. Congressionally chartered, ROA advises the Congress and the President on Reserve Component use and resourcing as it affects national security on behalf of all members of the nation’s Reserve Components. See more at https://www.roa.org.