Second National Tribute Dinner Honors
Programs Serving the Sea Services
By AMY L. WITTMAN, Editor in Chief
The Navy League welcomed more than 350 distinguished guests at its second National Tribute
Dinner to the Sea Services on Dec. 2 at which three
very special organizations were honored.
Enjoying a reception and dinner at the Andrew W.
Mellon Auditorium in Washington were corporate representatives from all business sectors; leaders from the
Departments of Defense, Homeland Security and
Veterans Affairs; members of Congress; Navy League
citizen volunteers; and Sailors, Marines and Coast
Guard men and women and their families.
Kicking off the festivities was Tribute Dinner
Chairman Al J. Bernard, the evening’s master of ceremonies, who welcomed the Sea Service Color Guard from
Naval District Washington. The presentation of the colors
was followed by an a cappella performance of the
“National Anthem” by Sgt. Terri L. Kopetzki, a vocalist
with the U.S. Marine Corps Band. Music for the evening
was provided by the band’s Small Ensemble. Rear Adm.
Alan Baker, deputy chief of Navy chaplains and chaplain
of the Marine Corps, delivered the invocation.
President George H.W. Bush, serving as honorary
dinner chairman, welcomed the guests and lauded the
award recipients via a previously recorded video.
Introduced by National President J. Michael McGrath,
keynote speaker H.C. “Barney” Barnum, deputy assistant
secretary of the Navy (Reserve
Affairs) and Medal of Honor recipient, spoke about the extraordinary
service, sacrifice and dedication of
today’s Sailors, Marines and Coast
Guard men and women.
“The combat warriors of our sea
services, who we gather here tonight
to honor, have never lost faith in
their country, or doubted the correctness of their cause,” Barnum
said. “They have faced and continue
to face dangers every day that safe
and comfortable Americans here at
home cannot imagine.
“They are dedicated young men
and women of character, who continue to believe in our great country
enough to put life and limb on the
line, without gratification and with-
out thoughts of personal gain. They are good and decent
young men and women who perform remarkable acts of
bravery and selflessness for a cause that they have decided
that is bigger — and more important — than themselves.”
Capping off this salute to the sea services was the
presentation of grants to three programs that assist men
and women in uniform and their families. Honored were:
■ The Wounded Marine Careers Foundation, a first-of-its-kind career training and job placement program for
wounded Marines and Navy Corpsmen. The initial mission is to provide them the skills for careers in media
following their rehabilitation.
Based in San Diego, the Wounded Marine Training
Center for Careers in Media brings together more than
30 film industry professionals to share their expertise
with program participants. The foundation’s pilot program aims to train two classes of 25 or more wounded
Marines per year in media, filmmaking, sound design,
editing, graphics and photojournalism. The inaugural
class graduated in March 2008.
■ The Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society’s Combat
Casualty Assistance Program, which, in addition to outright grants, provides registered nurses for home visits
to patients and families of Marine and Navy personnel
injured while deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan and the
Navy National League President J. Michael McGrath, left, and Al J. Bernard,
National Tribute Dinner chairman, far right, present a check to Ross Roeder and
John Statts for the Coast Guard Foundation’s Fallen Heroes Scholarship Fund
during the Navy League’s National Tribute Dinner Dec. 2 in Washington.