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Commanding Officer receives 2011 Stars and Stripes Award

By Pamela Jackson | | March 3, 2011

A high-ranking Marine officer here was the latest recipient of the 2011 Stars and Stripes Engineer of the Year Award for the Marine Corps.

Col. Terry V. Williams, commanding officer, Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany, took the honor at the 25th Engineer of the Year Awards Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Global Competitiveness Conference in Washington, D.C., Feb. 18.

Other military leaders honored at the event included U.S. Coast Guard Vice Admiral Manson Brown, commander, Pacific Area and commander, Defense Force West; Rear Admiral Arthur J. Johnson, commander, Naval Safety Center; Dr. Jarris L. Taylor, Senior Executive Service, deputy assistant secretary, Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force, Manpower and Reserve Affairs; John H. James, Jr., director, National Security, Personnel System Transition; and Col. Bruce T. Crawford, director, Chief Coordination Group, U.S. Army.

“I was surprised but honored to receive this award and be in the company of generals, admirals and rear admirals,” Williams said.  “It was also a great honor to stand with others who received it, including Admiral Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.”

The awards recognize true pioneers who have achieved exceptional career gains in government and industry, who have already merited lifetime achievement recognition, and who have energized their companies and their communities alike, according to a Career Communications Group Inc., press release.

Williams said this type of award is generally given to flag officers and members of the Senior Executive Service by the Black Engineers of the Year awards committee, an organization that brings engineers from across the nation together who are connected to STEM.

“General (James F.) Amos, commandant of the Marine Corps, presented the award to me. That was great! What a privilege it was to sit with the commandant and his wife for the evening and talk about a lot of things,” Williams said. “It was truly an honor to be recognized, but of course, this is definitely an award that countless people throughout my career - leaders and subordinates alike - have played a major part in.”

Williams, an engineer officer since 1987, said someone from the Black Engineers organization must have been tracking his career to select him for this prestigious award.

“The award (committee) looked at my entire career and what I have done in the engineering field, specifically my military career. Each branch of service had a recipient and I was one of two colonels awarded. I was proud to stand in such great company,” he said. “General William Ward, commander, U.S. Africa Command, was in attendance and it was a pleasure meeting him and many of the nearly 800 attendees as well. He is the only active duty African-American four-star general and the first to command USAFRICOM.”

Williams majored in mathematics at the University of California at Los Angeles and was commissioned in 1986.

“In the Marine Corps, I was categorized as a combat engineer, but I have also done a lot of civil engineering pro-jects. My career has spanned the entire spectrum of military engineering. Some of my civil engineering experience includes work in facilities and roads; combat engineering to include bridges and mine detecting; general engineering such as water and bulk fuel, as well as engineering specific to aviation ground support,” Williams said. “I have been able to test all of my skills and abilities.”

The Black Engineer of the Year Awards STEM Global Competitiveness Conference fosters collaboration between the U.S. military, government, academic and industry leaders, according to the Web site, www.beya.org