On May 21, the exceptional achievements of two members of the Navy JAG community – Cmdr. Katherine “Katy” Pasieta and Cmdr. Ann Vallandingham – were acknowledged with Outstanding Career Judge Advocate Awards.
The awards – which are given annually to officers from all branches of service – recognize judge advocates making significant contributions to the military. The awards were presented to Pasieta and Vallandingham by the Judge Advocates Association (JAA) during an awards dinner at the Army and Navy Country Club in Arlington, Va. Pasieta, who recently transferred from her previous command, could not attend the event; her previous commanding officer, Capt Lia Reynolds, accepted the award on her behalf.
“I’m incredibly honored and humbled to have received this award,” said Vallandingham, who currently serves as the Navy Reserve Law Program deputy manager in Washington, D.C. “Many of my professional successes would not have been possible without the guidance and support of so many wonderful colleagues, mentors and leaders. I’m grateful to be part of such a dedicated team of legal practitioners.”
Vallandingham, who made countless contributions during her time on active duty, is now a member of the Navy Reserve and continues to make a tremendous impact on the Navy JAG community. Her deployments included a tour in the Western Pacific Arabian Gulf in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, as well as tours with U.S. Special Operations forces in support of highly classified operations. She served as staff judge advocate and sole legal advisor for Joint Task Force, Horn of Africa and Joint Special Operations Task Force, Philippines. She was hand-selected to serve for a year as staff judge advocate to the Commanding General for Joint Forces Special Operations Component Command-Iraq, providing legal advice on a myriad of classified operational law issues such as detainees, rule of law, and law of armed conflict. She also served as an exemplary representative of the Navy during her assignment as a Legislative Fellow with the U.S. Senate. Likewise, Pasieta’s 16 years of dedicated service in diverse practice areas are a testament to her commitment to the Navy mission and the law. Her previous tours include Naval Legal Service Office Central, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/U.S. 5th Fleet, the General Litigation Division at the Office of the Judge Advocate General, U.S. Pacific Fleet, the Defense Department’s Office of the General Counsel, and U.S. Indo-Pacific Command. Most recently, she served as executive officer at Region Legal Service Office Hawaii, where she helped lead 40 legal professionals and served as a mentor to many others within the worldwide JAG community. This month, she assumed the position of staff judge advocate at U.S. 7th Fleet.
The JAA has been performing crucial work in the field of military law since its establishment in 1943. Its members are dedicated to continuing the organization’s mission to uphold the honor of the profession of law, and to foster the development of military law and cooperation between military and civilian practitioners and among the various JAG branches of the military. Other awards – the Maj. Gen. William K. Suter Distinguished Judicial Service Award, the Chief Justice John Marshall Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Chief Judge Robinson O. Everett Distinguished Life Service Award – were presented during the dinner, as well.