Midlothian residents receive Global War on Terrorism Civilian Service Medal
DALLAS – Soldiers, Airmen, Sailors and Marines are not the only Department of Defense members who deploy to combat zones overseas.
Army & Air Force Exchange Service civilian associates voluntarily leave behind family and friends to directly support American troops half a world away.
Midlothian residents and AAFES associates Michael Whisler and Anthony Simone deployed to Kuwait and Jordan, respectively, in 2003, shortly before and after Operation Iraqi Freedom began.
For their selfless service and unwavering support to the troops, both were awarded the Global War on Terrorism Civilian Service Medal in a ceremony at AAFES Headquarters, March 27.
The medal recognizes the contributions and accomplishments of the civilian workforce of the DoD in direct support of the armed forces, whose members are engaged in operations to combat terrorism in all forms throughout the world.
"It was an honor to present their awards," said Col. Thomas Baker, AAFES chief of staff. "AAFES civilian associates don’t get enough recognition for the sacrifices and dangers they put themselves in, all because they want to support troops during the times they need it most."
AAFES is a joint military command with a retail mission. Located on every Army and Air Force installation worldwide, the command’s motto is, "We go where you go!" AAFES is located in 49 U. S. states, five U.S. territories and more than 30 countries, operating more than 3,100 facilities to include retail and convenience stores, fast food restaurants, gas stations, car care centers, and class six shops (alcoholic beverage stores) and specialty stores such as dry cleaning, barber and beauty salons, nutrition centers, optometry stores, and flower shops to name a few.
During his deployment, Whisler served as the general manager of Southern Kuwait. He was responsible for all AAFES retail operations at five installations. Whisler deployed from April to Oct. 2003.
Simone helped build an exchange from the ground up for U.S. and coalition forces in Jordan and later on helped exchanges in Iraq with their inventory. He deployed from Feb. to April 2003.
AAFES associates complete two weeks of intensive training and preparation at AAFES Headquarters in Dallas and the Continental U.S. Replacement Center at Fort Benning, Ga.