American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Dec. 2, 2011 – Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter today paid tribute to the military’s enlisted members while recognizing two deemed the best of the best.
“You may not read about them everyday … but, behind the scenes, they are the unsung heroes,” Carter said during a Pentagon ceremony honoring the Office of the Secretary of Defense’s Senior and Junior Enlisted Member of the Year for 2010.
Carter pinned the Joint Service Commendation Medal on Air Force Master Sgt. Wesley K. Fleming II, operations manager of American Forces Network at Misawa Air Base, Japan, and Army Staff Sgt. Motavia S. Alston, manager and head chef for the Secretary of Defense’s executive dining facility in the Pentagon.
The value of strong enlisted members has been observed far and wide, Carter noted. Baron Friedrich von Steuben described them as the “backbone” of George Washington’s Continental Army, and Russian officials, while rebuilding the military after the collapse of the Soviet Union, said they could not have a great military without great NCOs.
Carter called Fleming and Alston the “living example of duty, honor, country,” noting their career excellence, as well as that to their communities.