The Adjutant General of the District of Columbia National Guard, Brig. Gen. Aaron R. Dean II, talked service, sacrifice and selflessness during a veterans’ observance ceremony at the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in Arlington, Va., Nov. 7.
The ceremony recognized DEA veterans, current military members, and the supervisors who support their service. “We are here to recognize those who have gone above and beyond to assist our veterans and active duty personnel,” said Uttam Dhillon, acting administrator, DEA, who kicked off the solemn hour-long event.
During his speech, Dean expressed a kinship with DEA through his service as a military police officer, lineage of family members who were also military police and his fourth great-grandfather’s service in the confederate Army.
Dean put emphasis on Soldier appreciation and what “thank you for your service” means to him.
“It means that you understand that we have an all voluntary military and we chose to serve our country in the most selfless way possible to protect the freedoms that we all enjoy,” Dean said.
Dean continued, “It means that you understand that one split second can change everything for a serving service member…. Other than Veterans Day, how you can show appreciation the other 364 days out of the year; tell a veteran ‘thank you for your service.’”
The D.C. National Guard is connected with the DEA through its Counterdrug Program and a former career special agent, Maj. Gen. William J. Walker, commanding general. Walker was a member of the Senior Executive Service and served as the Deputy Assistant Administrator in Charge, Office of Strategic Warning, prior to his federal government retirement in 2014.
To show their appreciation, the DEA veterans’ support award is presented annually and hung permanently on the wall of honor in the DEA headquarters.
“No matter what conflict they’ve served in, no matter where in the world they’ve been or deployed, they have protected our freedoms and they continue to serve our country with honor,” Dhillon said.
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