Former Kadena commander and spouse receive 2009 O'Malley Award
/ Published September 18, 2009
SAN ANTONIO (AFNS) -- The former Kadena Air Base, Japan, wing commander and his wife received the 2009 General Jerome F. O'Malley and Diane O'Malley Award Sept. 11 at a ceremony in the Pentagon. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz presented the award and Sharon O'Malley Burg made two special presentations of her own.
Brig. Gen. Brett T. Williams and his wife, Marianne, received the award that annually recognizes the wing commander and spouse team who have best exhibited their own courage, power, grace and beauty in caring for Air Force families and whose contributions to the nation, the Air Force and the surrounding community best exemplify the highest ideals and positive leadership of a military couple serving in a key Air Force position.
General Williams, who led the 18th Wing at Kadena Air Base from May 2007 to July 2009, is now based at Camp H.M. Smith, Hawaii, where he is the director of command, control, communications and computer systems for U.S. Pacific Command.
During the ceremony, Mrs. Burg, General and Mrs. O'Malley's daughter, presented General Williams with a set of brigadier general rank worn by General O'Malley. She also presented Mrs. Williams with a crystal rose, a symbol of pink roses that Diane O'Malley cherished. The military rank symbolized the selfless leadership of her father and the crystal rose represented her mother's grace. Both gifts are new traditions that Mrs. Burg has instituted this year to carry on the O'Malley legacy.
The award is named after General O'Malley and his wife, Diane, who were killed in a 1985 aircraft crash while en route to a meeting in Scranton, Pa. The couple was known for their leadership and contributions to Air Force families and communities.
In nominating the Williams' for the O'Malley award, Air Force Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Carrol H. "Howie" Chandler, then commander of Pacific Air Forces, said, "Team Williams provided extraordinary leadership for the joint community on Kadena and their teamwork is an incredible force multiplier supporting the strategic interests of the United States in Japan."
General Chandler went on to state that, "Perhaps the biggest contribution was their dedication to mentoring, coaching, leading and empowering all officer and enlisted 'command teams' on Kadena."
General and Mrs. Williams put particular emphasis on both military and spouse leadership teams at the squadron and group command levels as well as key senior enlisted leadership levels. The Williams' conducted two-day spouse leadership forums, follow-up seminars, mission orientations and protocol training sessions, and then followed up with overall close interaction with those teams.
"At our level, any recognition we receive is not really a reflection of our personal efforts," General Williams said. "Instead, the O'Malley award recognizes and validates the work of many teams and individuals across (Kadena Air Base)."
In a heartfelt letter that the couple sent back to the men and women of Kadena Air Base, they cited the significant support of the groups, clubs, staffs, agencies and organizations that "played vital roles in many of our initiatives." They also recognized the important work of the base's first sergeants.
Particular emphasis by the couple went to engaging and supporting family programs. They personally inspired and guided the Airman and Family Readiness Center, reinforcing its role as the keystone for spouse and family support. They also set the example in caring for the families of deployed servicemembers by jump-starting Kadena's Readiness Assistance Volunteer program.
They also were positive and articulate ambassadors for the Air Force to fostering strong relations with their host nation citizens. They opened their home more than 40 times to a wide variety of U.S. and Japanese guests from the military, civilian, business and political communities. These events bolstered bi-lateral relations with members of the local area.
Mrs. Williams was particularly active in programs that supported Airmen and their families. She was an active advisor to numerous base organizations, especially with an emphasis on spouse support including the First Term Airman's Course spouse orientation and the Airman Leadership School/NCO Academy spouse forum.
"The leadership teams and helping agencies [at Kadena Air Base] put their heart and soul into taking care of our Airmen and their families," Mrs. Williams said. "They helped raise the bar in making a dynamic and diverse mission happen every day."
In concluding his nomination of General and Mrs. Williams, General Chandler said, "Leading the 18th Wing is one of the toughest tests in our Air Force. Brett and Marianne aced this test and are most deserving of the 2009 O'Malley award."