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News | Nov. 13, 2013

Honoring Those Who Served

By DIA Public Affairs

WASHINGTON — DIA hosted “Honoring Those Who Served” at DIA Headquarters Nov. 7, combining several meaningful and important events into one program. Each portion of the program linked to the agency’s past and honored the sacrifices and contributions of those who came before us. Guests included families of four fallen soldiers, three new DIA Torch Bearers, the Defense Intelligence Alumni Association (DIAA), and former directors and deputy directors.

Patriots Memorial

DIA Director Lt. General Michael Flynn and DIA Senior Enlisted Advisor Chief Master Sgt. Troy Eden added four individuals into the agency’s Patriots Memorial at DIA Headquarters, which commemorates DIA members who have died in service to the United States. This memorial honors their exceptional sacrifice in support of the agency’s mission. The four fallen soldiers honored during the ceremony were: Sgt. Sherwood Baker, Pennsylvania Army National Guard (ARNG); Sgt. Don Clary, Kansas ARNG; Sgt. Lawrence Roukey, U.S. Army Reserve; and Sgt. First Class Clinton Wisdom, Kansas ARNG. They were all killed in action while supporting DIA combat operations.

“We are blessed to have had people such as these four heroes serve in our midst and we, as Americans, are better off for their service and sacrifice,” said Flynn. “We can never repay them or their families enough for their sacrifice to our nation.”

Members of each soldier’s family revealed the plaques that joined the 21 others on the Patriots Memorial, and friends and colleagues spoke to the character and courage of the soldiers in a video recording while the audience held back tears.

“This is a concept I’m still trying to get my head around: He’s my little brother and now to see him in such exclusive company of those who gave their lives,” said Kristy Runde, sister of Don Clary. “I’m struck by the gravity of the day and how moving it was.”

“My brother would have been honored to be here and would have liked to be talking with everyone and shaking their hands,” said Lisa Wisdom-Strayer, sister of Clint Wisdom. “It was nine years ago, but it feels like nine days ago.”

Torch Bearers Award

The Torch Bearers Award is the highest honor the agency can bestow on a former employee and recognizes individuals whose contributions directly impacted the agency’s success and accomplishments since its inception. Three new Torch Bearers – Helen Allgeyer, Dr. Robert DeGross and Bruce Rossing – were honored during the ceremony for their commitment to DIA’s values of teamwork, integrity, excellence and service.

“They committed themselves to our mission never expecting or wanting recognition. They worked in the shadows undertaking some of the nation’s most important and sensitive work,” said Flynn. “Today we recognize their work. We recognize them. And we thank them for their service and the example they set for all of us.”

Helen Allgeyer was honored for her exceptional service. One of the first 250 civilians transferred from the military services to DIA, Allgeyer’s contributions to planning and directing intelligence production, integrating DIA’s capabilities with the military services and combatant commands, and identifying the role of technology to produce accurate and accessible information for the customer remain as relevant today as they were when she established the framework.

Robert DeGross exemplified excellence throughout his career at DIA. The first civilian deputy commandant and provost of what is now the National Intelligence University, DeGross led the effort to revise the institution’s curriculum and obtain congressional degree-granting authorization and institutional accreditation. He also established Regional Joint Intelligence Training Facilities at five combatant commands; developed the first strategic plan for general intelligence training; started an online training center; and expanded career development opportunities for DIA personnel.

Honored for his teamwork, Bruce Rossing’s leadership was the driving force behind much of DIA’s support to military forces deployed worldwide during his career with the agency. Having served at DIA both as an active duty Navy commander and a civilian, Rossing increased the agency’s ability to directly support combat operations and laid the groundwork for the agency’s current role as a combat support agency. Through Rossing’s strong advocacy for operational forces in the mid-1980s, operational commanders came to rely on DIA’s expertise.

DIAA Homecoming and Former Leaders Day

Throughout the day, 48 members of the Defense Intelligence Alumni Association and former retired leaders including Army Lt. Gen. Ronald Burgess, Army Lt. Gen. Patrick Hughes, Navy Vice Adm. Lowell Jacoby, Army Lt. Gen. Michael Maples, Army Lt. Gen. Harry Soyster and Army Lt. Gen. James Williams received briefings on the state of the agency today. Current leaders discussed moving into a centers-based model with the integrated intelligence centers and how the agency is preparing for a rapidly changing and complex environment by modernizing defense intelligence analysis with a focus on integration, flexibility, efficiency and customer support.

“I know I don’t have to tell a room full of former intelligence professionals that the world is a complex place, but what makes today’s security landscape so unprecedented is the exponential rate of change in today’s global environment,” Flynn said.

As the agency’s former members have witnessed DIA’s evolution, and often been the catalyst for development, these briefings and discussions provide an opportunity for their valuable feedback on the agency’s progress and plans.

Lt. Gen. Ronald Burgess Portrait Unveiling

The last event of the day took place late in the evening in the Missile Lobby, where Flynn, defense attaché partners and former leaders came together to honor former director Burgess in the unveiling of his official portrait. Painted by artist Doug Short, the portrait is the most recent addition to the hallway that displays the portraits, biographies and quotes of former DIA directors.

“Ron led DIA at a critical time for this agency and for the nation,” Flynn said as he introduced Burgess. “We were in the midst of two wars on the other side of the world. And for the first time, DIA was right in the thick of both, deploying thousands of employees into harm’s way for the safety and security of our nation.”

As DIA director, Burgess maintained DIA’s intense operational focus in support of civilian policymakers and forward-deployed military commanders through the formal end of U.S. combat operations in Iraq and during the surge of combat troops into Afghanistan. Early in his tenure, he established priorities for the agency that included combating terrorism, preventing strategic surprise, and supported operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. Under his leadership, the agency also continued its long-time support to humanitarian issues, including playing a crucial role in the recovery effort in Haiti following the 2010 earthquake. In 2012, Burgess retired after three years at DIA and 38 years of service to the nation.

“Almost everyone who works here today will tell you that Ron leaves an enduring legacy with the men and women he shaped to lead this agency well into the future,” said Flynn before presenting Burgess with his official portrait.

“I was fortunate to be the leader of a great group of folks. The 16,000 plus is the real strength of this agency,” Burgess said following the unveiling. “It’s the people that make this agency what it is – people who have a common purpose, a common focus and who want to serve the nation. It’s an honor to be associated with this group.”