Three Airmen win 'Best in Show' photography contest
Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta, right, speaks with Tech. Sgt. Joshua Strang about Strang's award-winning photograph at the Art in Embassies Best in Show awards ceremony at the Pentagon, Nov 30, 2012. Strang is an instructor at the Defense Information School at Ft. Meade, Md. (DOD photo/Erin A. Kirk-Cuomo)
by Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.
American Forces Press Service
11/30/2012 - WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- Defense Department leaders honored three Airmen Nov. 30, for their participation in the Arts in Embassies program.
The Airmen were part of a group of 12 photography winners, selected from over 3,000 photo submissions.
Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta, Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Pentagon Press Secretary George E. Little recognized the "Best in Show" winners for the "Serving Abroad ... Through Their Eyes" category of the program.
At a Pentagon ceremony where the exhibit is currently on display, the chairman quoted Aristotle in describing the purpose of art.
"The importance of art is not to reveal the outward appearance of things, but the inward significance of things," Dempsey said. "This was really an easy (program) to get behind. It really was exciting."
The Arts in Embassy program started during the Kennedy administration.
"It is a true honor for all of us to be a part of the 50th anniversary," Little said, noting the defense secretary intently studied each image and read its accompanying caption.
The 12 winners were selected from 161 finalists by a panel of distinguished judges from a pool of 3,267 photos submitted by troops and members of the foreign and civil service.
Of the 12 photos selected, eight were taken by service members, including five graduates of the Defense Information School, at Fort Meade, Md.
Little, who described the Arts in Embassies program as a "unique initiative," noted as the Pentagon press secretary he "attaches a lot of eloquence to spoken words."
"(But) no words can capture the elegance of these images," he said. "The elite panel of judges (who selected these) included three former chairmen, two former secretaries of state and an NBC News (correspondent)."
The 12 "Best in Show" finalists received a plaque engraved with the signatures of Panetta and Secretary of State Hilary Rodham Clinton as well as their respective award winning photo.
Best in Show" photographers are:
·Tech. Sgt. Francisco V. Govea II of March Air Force Base, Calif.
·Tech. Sgt. Joshua Strang of Fort Meade, Md.
·Master Sgt. Cohen A. Young, of Shaw Air Force Base, S.C.
·Benjamin Altenes of Utah, a Diplomatic Security Officer with the Department of State
·Harold Bonacquist of Virginia, a Desk Officer with the Department of State
·Jonathan Paul Howard of Virginia, a Deputy Press Attaché with the Department of State
·Alda Kauffeld of Virginia, a DOC Specialist with USAID, currently stationed in Accra, Ghana
·U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Russell Lee Klika of the Tennessee National Guard
·U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Chad D. Nelson of the Iowa National Guard
·U.S. Army Captain John Rutledge of Fort Drum, N.Y.
·Former U.S. Army Sgt. Monica K. Smith of Kentucky
·U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Alvin Williams Jr. of Virginia, stationed in the United States