April 1, 2017 marked the 124th birthday of Navy chief petty officers. That same day, approximately 75 legalmen, 140 Reserve judge advocates (JAs) and 15 new Reserve JA accessions took part in the annual Military Law Training Symposium (MLTS) West in San Diego, Calif. The symposium kicked off on March 31 and wrapped up on April 2.
Rear Adm. John G. Hannink, Deputy Judge Advocate General, and Rear Adm. Carol Lynch, Deputy Judge Advocate General (Reserve Affairs and Operations), kicked off the conference with insightful discussions on the state of the Judge Advocate General (JAG) community and the road ahead. Hannink stated that, in today’s environment, the JAG community must be prepared to respond to an increasingly competitive marketplace, and he encouraged all attendees to regularly engage local commanding officers, executive officers and Reserve centers to support recruiting efforts. The three-day symposium provided a great opportunity for attendees to hear about the latest JAG community updates, to discuss recent military law developments, and to reconnect with old shipmates. Presentations were given on a myriad of topics, including military justice, command services, professional responsibility, and operational law – all of which provided a wealth of timely and relevant information.
A shining moment during the symposium was the announcement of the 2017 Rear Admiral Hugh H. Howell, Jr. Award of Excellence officer winners from the West Coast. Annually, the JAG Reserve community receives nominations for the award from Reserve law units and active duty-supported commands. The award recognizes both individuals and units that provided outstanding support to the Navy through sustained performance over time or by specific achievement.
This year’s winners included Cmdr. Carmel Tomlinson, Navy Reserve Pacific Fleet Legal (senior officer) and Lt. Cmdr. Stephanie Speakman, Navy Reserve Naval Justice School (junior officer). The 2017 Unit awards were presented to Region Legal Service Office Japan (best supporting command) and Region Legal Service Office Europe Africa Asia (best active supported command). In addition to the Rear Admiral Hugh Howell, Jr. winners, the prestigious 2017 Judge Advocates Association (JAA) Outstanding Career Armed Services Attorney Award was presented to Capt. Chuck Passaglia, Navy Reserve Forces Command Mobilization Center. The Legalman Sailor of the Year was awarded to Legalman 1st Class, Cynthia Ann Hunter, Navy Reserve Region Legal Service Office, Northwest and Reserve Component Command, Everett, Wash.
Last, but certainly not least, the Master Chief Delbert D. Black Leadership Award was given to Legalman Chief Petty Officer (SW/AW) Tegan Gay Winters, who serves as the leading chief petty officer for Navy Reserve Region Legal Service Office Hawaii and as the senior enlisted leader for 30 enlisted members in the Southwest Region. With the beautiful Pacific Ocean as the backdrop, the 2017 MLTS West proved to be a huge success. Attendees were even provided a little entertainment by the JAG community’s very own Cmdr. Johnny Martinez, Navy Reserve Forces Command.