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News | Sept. 8, 2017

2016 Civilians of the Year

By Navy JAG Corps Public Affairs

The Office of the Judge Advocate General (OJAG) and Naval Legal Service Command (NLSC) announced its 2016 Civilians of the Year. The recipients were chosen from a community of highly-talented civilians, the selectees’ accomplishments were particularly noteworthy and especially deserving of recognition.

OJAG selected Rebecca S. Snyder, Appellate Defense (Code 45), as Senior Civilian of the Year and Caroline D. Ubial, Claims and Tort Litigation (Code 15), as Junior Civilian of the Year. As the deputy director of Code 45, Snyder is responsible for the training, mentoring and supervision of a dozen attorneys in their appellate representation of service men and women convicted at courts-martial before three appellate courts--the Navy Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals, the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces and the Supreme Court of the United States.

"I'm honored to receive the award," said Snyder. "But it is really an award for all of Code 45.  We have a tight-knit team and part of the team is involved in everything we do.  The award is a testament to the talented officers we have at Appellate Defense."

Snyder is the heart and soul of the Code 45, her job performance is superb in every respect, yet 2016 saw her tried, tested and proven beyond even her normal accomplishments. As Code 45 faced significant manning shortages, Snyder was called upon to serve as interim director from June 2015 through August 2016. Possessing an unmatched work ethic, Snyder personally showed great initiative, to ensure continued mission success.  To this end, Snyder personally edited more than 90 substantive pleadings and led 34 Division moot courts to perfect written and oral argument for every Division counsel.

"The enthusiasm, dedication and hard work of my colleagues make it a pleasure to come to work every day," said Snyder. "We protect the rights of service men and women by working together to right the wrongs that occur when the government oversteps its bounds. From my experience working in justice systems in third world countries, I have seen firsthand that the rule of law is essential for a society to be functional and for democracy to work.  In recent years, enforcing the rule of law in military justice has been challenging as our system has faced significant political pressure that sometimes infects individual courts-martial.  I enjoy doing my part to enforce the rule of law in military justice and helping young appellate defense counsel understand the importance of the difficult, and often thankless, work they do," said Snyder.

As the Supervisory Claims Examiner, Ubial ensured Code 15 brought in more than $7,000,000 in the last two years. Through her leadership and resolve, she was instrumental in addressing organizational deficiencies and clearing a backlog of claims.   Ubial identified the needs of the office and addressed them, ensuring the successful stewardship of funds, resources and support for unit examiners and associates.  For the sake of the mission and the success of all Medical Care Recovery Unit's , she has taken on additional duties, accepting roles as DFAS coordinator and DEERS Site Security Manager, and garnering well-deserved trust and respect among peers and colleagues.

"I'm thrilled to receive the Junior Civilian of the Year award," said Ubial.  "This award is a reflection of all the support, hard work and dedication of my unit."

NLSC selected Shelia F. DeLosSantos, Region Legal Service Office Southeast (RLSO SE), as Senior Civilian of the Year and Hadeel A. Mohammed, RLSO EURAFSWA Branch Office Bahrain, as Junior Civilian of the Year DeLosSantos’ achievements were instrumental in the successful execution of a three phase RLSO SE Headquarters renovation project. Her management, coordination and logistic skills are beyond all expectations.  DeLosSantos worked tirelessly to ensure vacant positions throughout the RLSO SE AOR were promptly filled with highly trained and engaged employees.  DeLosSantos meticulously oversaw the processing of more than 55 records of trial, guiding all those involved in post-trial processing.  Her work resulted in the ability to anticipate potential issues early in the post-trial process, resulting in improved efficiencies and trial processing timelines. As the administrative law paralegal, Mohammed provides legal assistance services such as notary and power of attorney. She is also the Foreign Claims Act coordinator and a liaison between the U.S. Navy and the Bahraini Government for legal matters.

"This award means a lot, said Mohammed. "I feel appreciated and I will continue to give my best for this wonderful command and the JAG Corps!"

Mohammed ensured expedient legal aid to 1,500 clients, representing all branches of the military. She provided 2280 notary and power of attorney services while coordinating innovative legal assistance in support of fleet operations.  Her meticulous tracking of foreign criminal jurisdiction cases in Bahrain are relied upon by Victims’ Legal Counsel, RLSO and United States Naval Forces Central Command for accurate and up to date information.  Mohammed assisted the staff judge advocate by consistently performing mission-essential Bahraini Law research.

"My work environment is wonderful and we all work as a team," said Mohammed. "I could not ask for anything better."
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